The number of 2009 Hispanic high school graduates who took the ACT® increased to an all-time high of nearly 134,000 graduatesa 16 percent increase over 2008 and a dramatic 60 percent increase since 2005. But for the third year in a row, only one in ten meets all four of ACTs College Readiness Benchmarks.
A record number of Hispanic high school graduates took the ACT in 2009.
The increase comes, in part, from nearly universal ACT statewide testing in five statesColorado, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, and Wyomingwhich recorded a 10.8 percent increase in Hispanic ACT-tested graduates over the past year. More substantial increases came in states with traditionally higher Hispanic populationsArizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, New York, and Texaswhich experienced a 19.4 percent increase in the number of tested 2009 Hispanic graduates. In 2008, more than 114,000 Hispanic high school graduates took the ACT.
Over the past several years, the total population of ACT test-takers has grown substantially. Nearly 1.5 million high school graduates in 200945 percent of the national graduating class, up from 43 percent last yeartook the ACT, another all-time record number. The total number of ACT-tested graduates has grown by 25 percent since 2005, increasing by 4 percent this year, compared to last, even as the total number of graduates declined nationally.
While the national average ACT Composite score for all 2009 graduates was 21.1unchanged from 2008 and 0.2 point higher than in 2005the national average ACT Composite score for Hispanic 2009 graduates was 18.7, unchanged from 2008. This score remains at the record high first reached in 2007. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest possible score.
Average scores of Hispanic students on the four subject area tests were: English17.7; mathematics19.1; reading18.9; and science18.8. The average math and science scores were 0.1 point higher than in 2008, while the other two scores remained unchanged from last year.
The findings show that among Hispanic ACT-tested 2009 graduates, only 48 percent (down 1 percent from 2008) meet or exceed the ACT benchmark score in English; 27 percent (up 1 percent from 2008) for college-level math; 35 percent (unchanged from 2008) for reading; and just 13 percent (unchanged) for college-level science. Just 10 percent of Hispanic test-takers are college ready in all four subjects.
While the significant increase of Hispanic students who take the ACT is encouraging, findings suggest there is still considerable room for improvement. Despite the record growth in Hispanic test-takers, college readiness skills among Hispanics remained the same for the third year in a row.
The large majority of Hispanic high school graduates continue to lack at least some of the academic skills they will need to succeed in first-year college coursework. ACTs findings reaffirm the need for school districts and states to focus more attention on college and career readiness for the nations Hispanic students.