Link shown regarding ACT scores, prep courses High school students who took courses that followed the college prep curriculum scored significantly higher on the ACT exam than those who did not, according to information released on Tuesday by ACT, Inc. of Iowa City, IA. ACT is a nationally normed test used by colleges and universities as a part of the admissions process.
"Taking the prep curriculum is imperative," said Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry. "Students who follow the curriculum have continued to score much higher than those who do not and the gap between the two is broadening." The 1998 ACT results showed students who took the prep curriculum scored 2.3 points higher than those who did not. In 1999 the difference was 2.5 points.
The Board of Regents adopted the college preparatory curriculum in 1987. The Regent's suggested curriculum includes four years of English, three years of advanced mathematics (algebra or above), three years of social sciences, and three years of laboratory science. Sixty-three percent of South Dakota high school students taking the ACT completed this curriculum and earned an aggregate score of 22.3. Those who did not complete the prep curriculum scored 19.4. Nationwide only 60 percent of the students who took the exam completed the curriculum for an aggregate score of 22. The national average for students who took less than core was 19.4.
"Students who take the prep curriculum score higher on their ACTs, which are a direct indication of a students likely success in college," said Perry. "South Dakota's public schools must be commended for encouraging students to take more difficult courses. In doing so they are producing students that are ready to enter the college environment."
The sequence of courses in high school that yielded the highest ACT score for the English section was English 9, English 10, English 11, English 12 and Speech. For the mathematics component the highest scores were obtained by those who took Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Calculus. In the laboratory sciences those taking Biology, Chemistry and Physics scored highest.
"Students should start preparing for their college career as early as their freshman year of high school or sooner. The earlier students start to challenge themselves with advanced classes in math and science the better prepared they will be for college," said Perry.