Nebraska achievement levels remained steady and on pace with the national average on the ACT entrance exam that measures college readiness in English, Reading, Mathematics, and Science.
For the second year, nearly 100% of Nebraska graduates took the ACT as part of the statewide assessment system. Nebraska’s average 2019 ACT composite score is 20.0, down one tenth of a point from last year. The national average is 20.7 but only 52% of students take the ACT nationwide. The highest possible ACT score is 36.
Nebraska started offering the ACT for free to all juniors in 2017 and continues to score well compared to the 15 states with 100% or more graduates taking the ACT. Only Utah and Wisconsin scored better, each with a composite score of 20.3. States that test a high percentage of graduates tend to have lower averages, since the scores include more students who are not on a college course-taking track.
After an expected drop in score from 2017 due to recently-raised college and career readiness standards, this year’s scores leveled out while the number of graduating seniors who took the ACT continues to rise. There has been a 12% increase in participation within the past five years. This year, 24,744 graduates took the ACT, up more than 200 students from last year and up 6,397 students since 2015.
The following are among the other key findings from this year’s Nebraska ACT data provided by the State Department of Education: