South Dakota’s average composite score for the standardized test many colleges use to compare students is above the national average, according to a report from the state Board of Education.
The average ACT score in the state for 2020 was 21.7, up from 21.6 in 2019. The national average is 20.6, down from 20.7 in 2019.
ACT was once an abbreviation for American College Test, but today stands on its own as the name for one of two major exams higher education institutions use for entrance purposes. The other is the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT.
In the Pierre School District, students traditionally score above the state and national average on the ACT, according to Superintendent Kelly Glodt. T.F. Riggs High School test takers, in the 2019-2020 school year, had an average composite score of 22.5, according to data from the school. The composite score reflects subscores for:
In South Dakota, 70% of 2020 graduates took the ACT, compared to 49% of students nationwide. Thirty-one percent of South Dakota students met all four ACT College Readiness Benchmark Scores, compared to 26% nationwide.
“South Dakota students and teachers should be very proud of their accomplishments,” Secretary of Education Ben Jones said. “The class of 2020’s hard work and excellence will pay off for us all as they explore their postsecondary and career opportunities. These students scored not only better than the national average, and better than every neighboring state, but were also first among states in which more than 50% of graduates took the ACT. Driving the scores higher were public school American Indian students and Hispanic, Asian, and Black students in public and non-public schools. Each group’s scores increased by half a point or better and they are the reason why South Dakota fared so well.”