Illinois scores highest among states requiring ACT

The Illinois State Board of Education announced that the graduating Class of 2012 once again received the highest composite ACT score among the nine states that required all 2012 graduates to take the test. In addition, Illinois’s scores show a continuous improvement in the percentage of graduates who meet ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks over the last five years.

“Since Illinois began administering the ACT to all 11th grade students more than a decade ago, the state has been ahead of the curve in emphasizing college and career readiness,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Illinois, once more, had the highest composite ACT score among states that require the ACT for all students, showing that our efforts are paying off. We are confident that our more rigorous learning standards will not only improve test scores but ensure that more students excel in their academic pursuits after high school.”

In states where at least 50 percent of graduates in the Class of 2012 took the test—there are 28 of these states—Illinois ranked 11th, posting an average composite score of 20.9. States in which more than half of high school graduates take the ACT are mostly in the midwest, Rocky Mountains, plains, and southern regions of the country.

  • 1. Minnesota, 22.8, 74%
  • 2. Iowa, 22.1, 63%
  • 2. Wisconsin, 22.1, 71%
  • 4. Montana, 22.0, 61%
  • 4. Nebraska, 22.0, 78%
  • 6. Kansas, 21.9, 81%
  • 7. Ohio, 21.8, 71%
  • 7. South Dakota, 21.8, 81%
  • 9. Idaho, 21.6, 67%
  • 9. Missouri, 21.6, 75%
  • 11. Illinois, 20.9, 100%

The nine states that mandate the ACT as part of statewide testing of high school students are Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming.

Source: ISBE press release at
Additional source: Minnesota Office of Higher Education

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Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.