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Arkansas Lawmakers Concerned About Student ACT Scores and Reading Skills

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Courtesy: Arkansas House of Representatives
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Some lawmakers have said high school graduates in Arkansas aren’t proficient in reading and not prepared for college.

The ACT (American College Test) is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. It is currently administered by ACT, a nonprofit organization of the same name. The ACT test covers four academic skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and scientific reasoning. High School Students take the test and their results are a way to determine course competency, some colleges still use ACT scores for admissions. But Arkansas lawmakers are raising concerns about student achievement and test performance. During the joint House and Senate education committee meeting in Little Rock this week, legislators were presented ACT scores, causing some lawmakers to say the test scores should be higher.

According to the Arkansas Department of Education, the average composite score on the ACT is 19, while the national average is 20. Johnny Key, Secretary of Education for Arkansas said several things affected the average score being behind the national average.

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Courtesy: Arkansas House of Representatives Archive Video
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Jonny Key, Arkansas Secretary of Education

“We can’t back off science and reading; we can’t back off the things we’ve done. I think our results would have been much better today had we not had the two years of COVID interruptions,” Key explained. “I would just ask this body to stick with the steps we’ve taken on dyslexia and on science and reading.”

Some lawmakers have said high school graduates in Arkansas aren’t proficient in reading and not prepared for college. Other factors highlighted were better teacher recruitment and retention and increasing Advanced Placement classes.