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The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview


Introduction

Why does this information matter to enrollment prof...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview


Table 2. Percentage of 2009 ACT-Tested High School Graduates who ...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview


Texas                30            20.8           19.9           ...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview


If you choose to use all three SAT scores (CR+M+W) in your admiss...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview


Table 3. Concordance between ACT Composite Score and Sum of SAT C...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview




               1,600,000

               1,400,000

           ...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview


                                                                 ...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview


    •   Do you know the demographic characteristics of the studen...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview




                25                                             ...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview


                 120000

                 100000

               ...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview


research suggests that subject area scores do predict successful ...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview




                70
                60
                50
      ...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview




                     Asian           24                        ...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview




                   Asian              35                       ...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview




                Asian           39                   61

      ...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview


While a percentage of students will certainly change their antici...
The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview



  Anticipated Major   Number Avg. ACT         Number         Avg...
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The 2009 Act National Test

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Overview of the Fall 2009 ACT National test taking population with questions for enrollment managers,

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Transcript of "The 2009 Act National Test"

  1. 1. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview Introduction Why does this information matter to enrollment professionals? The majority of colleges and universities require a standardized test score (ACT or SAT) for admission. Since this is the case, it is important for professionals making judgments about students on the basis of such scores to understand how particular students compare to the larger universe of ACT test-takers. Even if you are located in a SAT- dominant state, you are likely to receive ACT test-reports from geographically distant students or those students who prefer to complete the ACT in lieu of the College Board examination. Table 2 provides the percentage of graduating seniors by state who complete the ACT. Note that the states are rank-ordered from highest percentage of test-takers to lowest percentage of test-takers. Please note that in Spring 2008, all public high school eleventh graders in the states of Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Wyoming were tested with the ACT as required by each state. Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Wyoming students who met ACT's 2009 graduating class criteria are included in the 2009 graduating class average score results. Table 3 provides the most recent ACT/SAT concordance scores. This table will allow you to assess SAT Critical Math and Reading Total scores with ACT Composite Scores (and vice-versa). The ACT is intended to be a test of college readiness. While most are familiar with the academic achievement component of the ACT (English, math, reading, science, and writing [optional]); students also provide information regarding high school grades and course information, demographics, and career interests. While developing an understanding of what a particular composite or subject area score might mean is important, the ACT does more than measure preparation for college. Information collected at the time of the ACT forms the basis for college student search selections. As such, understanding how well represented our institutional selections are in the larger population of ACT test-takers should structure our expectations regarding the relative availability of students for enrollment. In recent years, American College Testing has provided College Readiness Benchmark scores to educational professionals and students. These scores reflect student performance on the various subsets of the ACT examination. Essentially, a benchmark score is the minimum subject area test score needed to indicate a 50% chance of earning a B or higher or a 75% of obtaining a C or higher in selected college courses. The College Readiness Benchmark scores are: Table 1. ACT Subject Area Benchmark Scores – 2009. College Course/Course Area ACT Subject Test Benchmark Score Needed English Composition English 18 Algebra Mathematics 22 Social Sciences Reading 21 Biology Science 24 Additional information about the ACT examination and benchmark scores can be found at www.act.org. www.millercook.com Page 1
  2. 2. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview Table 2. Percentage of 2009 ACT-Tested High School Graduates who complete the ACT examination and average ACT Scores by state (Source: American College Testing, 2009). State % Grads Average Average Average Math Average Average Tested Composite English Score Score Reading Score Science Score Score Colorado 100 20.8 20.1 20.5 21.1 20.8 Kentucky 100 19.4 18.8 19 19.8 19.7 Michigan 100 19.6 18.6 19.6 19.6 20.1 Wyoming 99 20 18.9 19.8 20.4 20.2 Illinois 97 20.8 20.5 20.7 20.8 20.7 Mississippi 93 18.9 19.1 18.3 19 18.7 Tennessee 92 20.6 20.7 19.8 21 20.4 Louisiana 89 20.1 20.3 19.6 20.2 20 North Dakota 78 21.5 20.7 21.5 21.8 21.6 Alabama 76 20.3 20.5 19.5 20.7 20.1 Kansas 74 21.9 21.4 21.7 22.4 21.8 South Dakota 74 22 21.2 21.8 22.3 22 Arkansas 73 20.6 20.6 20.1 21 20.2 Nebraska 72 22.1 21.9 21.8 22.5 22 Oklahoma 71 20.7 20.5 19.9 21.4 20.5 Minnesota 68 22.7 22 22.7 23.1 22.6 Utah 68 21.8 21.4 21.1 22.6 21.6 Missouri 67 21.6 21.5 20.9 22.1 21.5 Wisconsin 67 22.3 21.7 22.2 22.6 22.3 New Mexico 65 20 19.3 19.6 20.7 20 Ohio 64 21.7 21.1 21.4 22.2 21.7 Florida 62 19.5 18.7 19.7 20.2 19 West Virginia 62 20.7 20.8 19.6 21.4 20.5 Iowa 59 22.4 21.9 21.9 22.9 22.4 Idaho 58 21.6 20.9 21.3 22.3 21.4 Montana 54 22 21.2 21.7 22.7 21.7 South Carolina 50 19.8 19.2 20 19.9 19.8 National 45 21.1 20.6 21 21.4 20.9 Georgia 40 20.6 20.1 20.6 20.9 20.3 Oregon 33 21.4 20.5 21.5 21.9 21.1 District of Columbia 30 19.4 19.1 19.5 19.7 18.6 Nevada 30 21.5 20.9 21.4 22 21 www.millercook.com Page 2
  3. 3. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview Texas 30 20.8 19.9 21.3 20.9 20.6 Alaska 29 21 20.1 21.1 21.7 20.7 New York 25 23.1 22.5 23.4 23.3 22.7 Indiana 24 22.2 21.6 22.4 22.6 21.6 Vermont 24 23.1 22.9 22.9 23.7 22.5 Hawaii 22 21.5 20.9 22.1 21.4 21 Connecticut 21 23.5 23.6 23.5 24 22.6 Virginia 20 21.9 21.7 21.8 22.3 21.4 California 19 22.2 21.8 22.8 22.4 21.4 Massachusetts 18 23.9 23.9 24.3 24.3 22.8 Washington 18 22.8 22.4 22.9 23.5 22.1 Maryland 17 22.1 21.9 22.1 22.5 21.5 New Jersey 16 23.1 22.9 23.5 23.2 22.1 Arizona 15 21.9 21.3 22.1 22.4 21.3 New Hampshire 15 23.5 23.3 23.4 24.1 22.6 North Carolina 15 21.6 20.9 22 21.9 21.1 Pennsylvania 14 22.1 21.7 22.2 22.4 21.5 Delaware 11 22.6 22.2 22.5 23.1 22 Rhode Island 10 22.8 23 22.5 23.4 21.8 Maine 9 23.1 23 23 23.6 22.3 www.millercook.com Page 3
  4. 4. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview If you choose to use all three SAT scores (CR+M+W) in your admission decisions, the concordance table that follows will not allow you to immediately convert ACT scores into the appropriate SAT Total Score. To do so, you will need to use one of the formulas that follow. “The SAT CR+M+W total score can be related to the ACT Composite using the following equation: Estimated SAT CR+M score = (SAT CR+M+W score +15) / 1.5 Round this value to the nearest 10, and then use the concordance table to get the estimated ACT Composite score. The ACT Composite can be related to the SAT CR+M+W scale by first converting the ACT Composite score to the SAT CR+M scale using the concordance table, and then using the following equation: Estimated SAT CR+M+W score = (1.5 x SAT CR+M score) – 15 This number is rounded to the nearest 10. Multiplying by 1.5 puts the value on the correct scale. The subtraction of 15 points is done because SAT W scores are lower, on average, than the SAT CR and SAT M scores. For example, in the 2007 College Board National Report, the average SAT W score is 494, while the average SAT CR score is 502 and the average SAT M score is 515. The average difference is about 15 (American College Testing, Estimating Score Conversions for ACT Composite and SAT CR+M+W Scores, 2009). www.millercook.com Page 4
  5. 5. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview Table 3. Concordance between ACT Composite Score and Sum of SAT Critical Math and Reading Score (Source: American College Testing, 2009). SAT CR+M (Score Range) ACT Composite Score SAT CR+M (Single Score) 1600 36 1600 1540-1590 35 1560 1490-1530 34 1510 1440-1480 33 1460 1400-1430 32 1420 1360-1390 31 1380 1330-1350 30 1340 1290-1320 29 1300 1250-1280 28 1260 1210-1240 27 1220 1170-1200 26 1190 1130-1160 25 1150 1090-1120 24 1110 1050-1080 23 1070 1020-1040 22 1030 980-1010 21 990 940-970 20 950 900-930 19 910 860-890 18 870 820-850 17 830 770-810 16 790 720-760 15 740 670-710 14 690 620-660 13 640 560-610 12 590 510-550 11 530 The National Population: Students who graduated in 2009 More than 1.4 million students completed an ACT examination in 2008-2009. These students collectively earned an average ACT Composite Score of 21.1 (identical to last year’s average composite score). Forty-five percent of all HS senior test-takers were male; 55% of test-takers were female. The average ACT Composite score earned by females was 20.9 while the average earned by male test-takers was 21.3. www.millercook.com Page 5
  6. 6. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview 1,600,000 1,400,000 1,200,000 1,000,000 800,000 600,000 400,000 200,000 - 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Number of students tested 1,171,460 1,186,251 1,206,455 1,300,599 1,421,941 1,480,469 Number of ACT-Tested Students in the Nation Source: American College Testing, 2009. Despite an increasing number of ACT test-takers, the national ACT Composite score average has experienced little fluctuation (see accompanying figure). Questions to address: • How many ACT score reports were submitted to your institution this year? Is this number greater than, less than, or the same as the number received last year? What might this suggest about your market share? How might this information impact your decisions regarding the use of student search? • How many SAT score reports were submitted to your institution this year? Is this number greater than, less than, or the same as the number received last year? What might this suggest about your market share? How might this information impact your decisions regarding the use of student search? • How does your institution’s average ACT Composite score compare to the national average? • Has your institution’s average ACT Composite score (for entering students only) changed in recent years? Why? • If you were to compare the ACT Composite average of all first-year students entering your institution in Fall 2008 with the average ACT Composite average of all those who remain enrolled in Fall 2009; would the average increase/decrease/remain the same? What, if anything, might this suggest about student retention at your institution? www.millercook.com Page 6
  7. 7. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview 21.2 21.2 21.15 21.1 21.1 21.1 21.1 21.05 21 20.95 20.9 20.9 20.9 20.85 20.8 20.75 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 National ACT-Composite Average – National Trends. Like the nation’s high school population, the ACT test-taking population is becoming increasingly diverse. In 2004, 67% of the test-taking population self-identified as Caucasian. In 2009, 64% of the test-taking population self-identified as Caucasian. Ethnic Distribution of Ethnic Distribution of ACT test-takers (2004) ACT test-takers (2009) Percent National Test Percent National Test Takers Takers Other/No Response, African Other/No African Asian 10 American, 11 Native Asian Response, 9 American, 13 American, 3 Native American, 1 American, 4 American, 1 Hispanic, 7 Hispanic, 9 Caucasian, Caucasian, 67 64 Questions to consider: Your institution likely receives ACT scores in one of two primary ways: Official ACT reports are mailed or transmitted electronically to the Office of Admission if, at the time of the ACT examination, the student identifies your institution as a recipient. www.millercook.com Page 7
  8. 8. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview • Do you know the demographic characteristics of the students who send these official reports to you? • Are official score submitters (students who have selected your institution at the time of the ACT examination) more likely to matriculate than others? • Do you consider official score submitters high priority contacts and have you developed a communication plan for this student population? • Is the ACT examination preferred by selected ethnic populations? Can you describe those students most likely to submit an ACT (or SAT) score to your institution? The second source of ACT scores is on the high school transcripts themselves. Many schools affix the official test report labels provided to guidance counselors on the high school transcripts. These are generally considered official test scores by the receiving college. • Are you examining subject area test scores as well as ACT composite scores when you are considering a student’s application? • Are you using college readiness scores to identify students at academic risk? • Are you sharing college readiness scores with professionals responsible for the academic advisement of students? Are advisors using this information to help students make informed choices about their first semester schedule? For example, it may not be in the student’s best interest to schedule both a lab science and math course if he or she has not earned the minimum benchmark score in each area. ACT Composite Score averages vary considerably as a result of self-reported ethnicity. Asian American and Caucasian student ACT Composite averages are among the highest reported; African American and Hispanic Composite Score averages are considerably lower. Questions to consider: • If your institution uses an admission committee to make decisions about students at academic risk, do members of the committee know the average test scores earned as a function of gender and ethnicity? • Do you share a report similar to this one with academic leadership and admission committee members? www.millercook.com Page 8
  9. 9. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview 25 22.2 23.2 20.9 18.9 18.7 20 16.9 15 10 5 0 African American Native Caucasian Hispanic Asian American Other/No American/Alaska Response Native National ACT-Composite Average (2009) as a function of Race/Ethnicity. Source: American College Testing, 2009 Questions to consider: Demographic variables such as gender and ethnicity can impact ACT Composite Score averages. • What percentage of your entering student population is found in each of the ethnic/racial groups identified in the corresponding figure? • What is the ACT Composite Score average for each? • Remember the earlier question about student retention? How might ethnicity/race qualify any changes in ACT Composite average you noted? Of the 1.4 million HS seniors who completed the ACT in 2009, only 638 students in the nation earned an ACT Composite score of 36. Three hundred and eight-eight students earned composite scores between 09-03. And 10,983 students earned a composite scores of 34 (7,533) and 35 (3,450). The national distribution of ACT Composite scores is displayed in the figure that follows. www.millercook.com Page 9
  10. 10. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview 120000 100000 80000 60000 40000 20000 0 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 ACT Composite Score Distribution of ACT-Composite Scores – All 2009 HS Graduates Questions to consider: • If you purchase student search from American College Testing, do you understand what percentage of names purchased are associated with each ACT Composite Score? If, for example, you are purchasing names to build enrollment in your institution’s honors program and purchase the names of students who earn a 33-36 ACT composite score; you will actually only receive 638 names in the 36 ACT Composite Score Group, 3,450 names in the 35 score value group, 7,533 in the 34 score value group and 12,082 in the 33 score value group. Knowing this distribution may influence the manner in which you assign scholarship dollars. • Are you letting students in the highest performance groups know how special they really are? Subject Area Scores and College Readiness As was mentioned earlier, the academic component of the ACT is intended to assess preparation for college-level study in English, biology, the social sciences, and mathematics. The four subject area scores provided by American College Testing are associated with competency or benchmark scores. A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or a 75% chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding college credit- bearing courses. The accompanying figure displays benchmark scores for each subject area and the percentage of all ACT test-takers who earned the minimum benchmark score or higher in 2009. Questions for consideration: While the national benchmark scores correlate with performance in selected college coursework, it is important that your institution determine whether or not these subject area scores are correlated with performance in courses available on your campus. As such, your institutional research/assessment professional might be asked to conduct appropriate subject area score research. If your institutional www.millercook.com Page 10
  11. 11. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview research suggests that subject area scores do predict successful course performance, you may want to consider their use in admission decisions. • Do you know the correlation between subject area score and grades earned in English Composition, biology, finite math, or selected social science courses on your campus? 67% 70% 60% 53% 50% 42% 40% 28% 30% 23% 20% 10% 0% College College College College All 4 English Algebra Social Biology benchmark Composition Science scores ACT ACT Math ACT ACT % English Benchmark Reading Science Students Benchmark Score = 22 Benchmark Benchmark meeting all Score = 18 Score = 21 Score = 24 4 Benchmark Scores Percent of 2009 ACT-Tested Students Ready for College-Level Coursework. Females were more likely than males to earn benchmark scores in English and Reading. Conversely, higher percentages of men earned benchmark scores in Math, Science, and all four competency areas. www.millercook.com Page 11
  12. 12. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 English Math Reading Science All Four Male 65 47 52 33 27 Female 69 38 53 24 20 Percentage of Males and Females Earning College Readiness Benchmark Scores (2009 seniors) The English benchmark score is 18. Sixty-seven percent of the nation’s ACT tested students achieve this benchmark score (or higher). As the accompanying figure displays, the percentage of test-takers who achieve this benchmark score or higher varies as a function of test-taker race/ethnicity. Only 35% of African American test-takers achieve this score and are judged likely to earn a C or B grade in college- level English. Conversely, 77% of Caucasian Americans and 76% of Asian Americans achieve this benchmark score. It should be noted that students who complete one course in high school English in addition to the minimum core courses (ENG 9, ENG 10, ENG 11, ENG 12), are more likely to attain the minimum benchmark score (75% do so). Only 23% of ACT test-takers actually do complete English courses beyond core requirements. www.millercook.com Page 12
  13. 13. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview Asian 24 76 Hispanic 52 48 Caucasian 23 77 Native American 50 50 African American 65 35 All Students 33 67 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Percent Not Ready Percent Ready Percentage of students meeting ACT College Readiness Benchmark Scores: English Only 42% of the nation’s 1.4 million ACT test-takers demonstrate readiness for college mathematics. While 65% of Asian students demonstrate mathematics readiness, only 12% of African American students do so. Seventeen percent of ACT tested students complete only minimum core requirements in mathematics (Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry). Only 12% of these students earn the minimum mathematics benchmark score of 22. While 60% of ACT tested students exceed minimum math course core requirements in high school, the majority (31%) do so by enrolling in an advanced mathematics course other than trigonometry, pre-calculus, or calculus. In fact, only 22% of all ACT-Tested students complete trigonometry in high school. www.millercook.com Page 13
  14. 14. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview Asian 35 65 Hispanic 73 27 Caucasian 50 50 Native American 76 24 African American 88 12 All Students 58 42 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Percent Not Ready Percent Ready Percentage of students meeting ACT College Readiness Benchmark Scores: Mathematics ACT Benchmark scores in reading are correlated with social science course enrollment patterns. The majority of test-takers (59%) report enrollment in four or more years of social science in high school. Sixty-one percent of test-takers who do so attain the minimum benchmark score (21) in reading. www.millercook.com Page 14
  15. 15. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview Asian 39 61 Hispanic 65 35 Caucasian 38 62 Not Ready Native American 61 39 Ready African American 80 20 All Students 47 53 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Percentage of Fall 2009 Test-Takers meeting ACT Benchmark Score: Reading Thirty-one percent of ACT-Tested students complete biology, chemistry, and a general science course in high school. Yet only 21% of these students will earn the minimum science benchmark score of 24. An additional 38% of test-takers enrolled in general science, biology, chemistry, and physics. Thirty-nine percent of these students earned the minimum benchmark score of 24. Asian American 58 42 Hispanic 87 13 Caucasian 65 35 Not Ready Native American 84 16 Ready African American 94 6 All Students 72 28 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Percentage of students meeting ACT college readiness score: Science www.millercook.com Page 15
  16. 16. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview While a percentage of students will certainly change their anticipated major prior to enrollment, it is the initial identification of major that informs the majority of student search purchases. The tables that follow feature selected areas of study, the number of ACT-tested high school seniors who indicate interest in the major, their average ACT composite score and the numbers of students who intend, at the time of the ACT, to enroll in two- or four-year institutions. As has been the case for nearly a decade, health science and allied health fields command the attention of a majority of ACT-tested college bound seniors. Note also the large number of students who, at the time of the test, remain undecided about their intended major. Questions to consider: • What percentage of your entering student population remains undecided about a major? • Do you have programs and services for “still deciding” students? • Do you have specific messages for them and for their families? • What is the fall-to-fall retention rate of first-time students who enter your institution as undecided majors? • Does the ACT composite score average of undecided test-takers surprise you? Why or why not? • Do you bring into your conversations with undecided students preconceived notions? Anticipated Major Number Avg. ACT Number Avg. ACT Number Avg. ACT All Composite Two-Year Composite Four-Year Composite Students College College Students Students Business and 154,578 20.9 6,629 16.5 137,614 21.2 Management Communications 40,789 21.6 1,699 16.8 36,685 21.7 Computer and 32,956 21.4 2,885 17.8 27,785 21.8 Information Sciences Education 59,376 20.7 1,825 16.3 54,077 20.9 Health Science and 286,426 20.7 18,245 16.9 254,161 21.1 Allied Health Fields Letters 10,465 24.7 305 19.1 9,474 24.9 Mathematics 10,515 24.1 256 16.7 9,406 24.4 Philosophy, 7,788 22.6 239 18.1 6,940 22.8 Anticipated Academic Majors – Religion & Theology 2008 ACT-Tested Seniors81,680 Biological/ Physical Science 87,430 23.8 1,093 17.6 23.9 www.millercook.com Page 16
  17. 17. The 2009 ACT National Test-Taking Population: Overview Anticipated Major Number Avg. ACT Number Avg. ACT Number Avg. ACT All Composite Two-Year Composite Four-Year Composite Students College College Students Students Social Sciences 94,328 22.3 1,316 17.3 88,265 22.4 Visual and 91,202 21.0 7,142 17.1 76,481 21.3 Performing Arts Undecided 206,391 21.5 13,202 16.7 165,472 22.0 Many enrollment management professionals depend upon student search (the purchase of ACT and/or SAT test-taker names) to build their inquiry and applicant pools. Are you segmenting both the purchase of your student search and your communications to those students and their families? In today’s customized environment, you must be prepared to anticipate student/family need and interest. If you would like to learn more about how to more effectively use student search to build a viable applicant population or would like to inquire about professional development opportunities, we are available to help. Please contact Dr. Catherine Cook at Miller/Cook & Associates, Inc. 1-800-591-1141 or info@millercook.com. www.millercook.com Page 17

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