In ACT exam, Nebraska's 2014 grads do better than 2013 grads, better than peers nationally

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LINCOLN, Nebraska — A new report says Nebraska's 2014 high school graduates scored higher on the ACT college entrance exam than students nationally and better than the state's 2013 graduates.

The Nebraska Education Department said in the report that Nebraska's average ACT composite score was 21.7, seven-tenths of a point higher than the national average of 21.0 out of a possible score of 36. Nebraska's 2013 figure was 21.5.

Statewide, 17,768 graduating seniors took the test, or 86 percent. That's up from 84 percent last year.

"Nebraska educators are pleased that more of our high school graduates aspire to continue their education after high school," said Nebraska Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt in a news release Tuesday.

Most Midwest colleges and many across the country accept or require the ACT for admission. Many colleges accept or require the SAT exam instead, especially on the coasts.

The percentage of Nebraska graduates who met the college-ready benchmarks in all four subjects — math, science, reading and English — was 29 percent, compared with 28 percent for 2013 graduates. Nationally, the figure was 26 percent, the same as last year.

The department said 72 percent of the Nebraska graduates met the English goal, compared with 64 percent nationally; 48 percent of the Nebraska teens met the reading goal, compared with 44 percent nationally; 45 percent of the Nebraska graduates met the mathematics benchmark, compared with 43 percent nationally; and 42 percent of the Nebraska grads tested ready in science, compared with 37 percent nationally.

The Nebraskans' English and science percentages increased 1 point. Reading remained the same and the mathematics benchmark percentage dropped a point.

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