State’s ACT results are in

State's ACT results are in The ACT exam taken each year by high school students serves as a measure of how prepared a prospective student is for college study. Used not only as an admission tool the ACT exam is also used by high school guidance counselors, teachers, and administrators to assist students in planning high school courses to ensure that students are ready to attend college.

South Dakota Exceeds

National Average

On average South Dakota students scored higher than the national average in three subject areas presented in the ACT exam. They are math, reading and science reasoning. On the English section of the ACT, South Dakota students were equal to the national average. South Dakota students scored the highest in the science reasoning portion of the ACT, surpassing the national average by seven tenths of a point.

Taking Core Classes Means Higher ACT Score

Completion of core classes resulted in higher test scores both nationally and in South Dakota. Core classes as defined by ACT are the suggested coursework in a typical college preparatory curriculum. The ACT core mirrors South Dakota's college admission requirements. Both the ACT core and South Dakota's college admission requirements include: 4 years of English (E), 3 years of math (M), 3 years of social sciences (SS), and 3 years of natural sciences (NS). South Dakota additionally requires 1/2 year of fine arts and 1/2 year of computer science.

Scores Remain Consistent

Ranging from 21, to 21.4 the ACT scores of South Dakota high school students have remained fairly consistent over the past 10 years. An increase from 6,005 students taking the exam in 1988-89 to 7,202 students taking the exam in 1997-98 had no effect on the average of the composite scores.

Public Schools S.D.

Students First Choice

Nearly half of all South Dakota high school students taking the ACT exam identified a South Dakota public university as their first choice to attend. More students listed South Dakota technical schools as their first choice of higher education over South Dakota private universities. Over a third of the South Dakota students taking the ACT listed an institution out of state as their first choice. South Dakota State University was the most preferred in-state school, while the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities was the most preferred out-of-state school.

South Dakota High School Students' Planned Majors

Nearly a fourth of all South Dakota students taking the ACT exam listed a health field as their planned major. The second highest chosen major was in the field of business and management. Some of these majors don't coincide with what the South Dakota Department of Labor predicts as the fastest growing job areas in South Dakota which include the areas of computer science and communications.


Students completing the minimum core requirements consistently receive higher scores on the ACT exam than those students that don't complete the core requirements. By completing core requirements students are better prepared for study at the collegiate level.

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