By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota high school students are above average when it comes to ACT scores, but there is much room for improvement on the college entrance exam.

The scores were pretty steady from last year.  It’s not required here, but nearly every student takes the test. Nationally, the average score is down just slightly to 20.8 out of a possible 36 points.

In Minnesota, students tested higher, earning 21.3.  But the State’s Education Commissioner says fewer than a third of high school students have the skills they need to do well in college.

So, the news here is mixed. It’s mid-semester at Augsburg University, but there’s one big test that’s already behind them, the ACT.

Alex Fisher is a Southwest High graduate, “It’s kinda this thing, if you’re gonna get into the college you want to get into you have to score well on it and I think that’s true but I don’t think it needs to be as hyped up as it is.”

Fellow Auggie Lucia Davila-Alvarez went to Great River Montessori in St. Paul. She says the ACT was a memory she’d like to forget.

“English is my second language so this test isn’t necessarily the best test for me.”

Harding High School alum Alma Lora agrees, “It’s hard for me to take a test that’s timed on. Makes me think I have to answer everything really fast.”

ACT released numbers for 2018 grads, and the average in Minnesota is 21.3, the average in Wisconsin is 20.5.

While traveling abroad, education advocate Joe Nathan of Center for School Change explained most students are not ready for college.

“Overall, while Minnesota continues to do well nationally we also follow the pattern of slight declines and that’s a problem.”

Only 47 percent of Minnesota students meet the math benchmark and 42 percent meet the science benchmark. Still, ACT scores are steady and these students are thriving.

“For me it was just another test I had to get through and here I am about to graduate.”

The state Of Connecticut had the highest ACT average with a 25.6 but only 26 percent of students take the ACT in that state.

Many students in other parts of the country rely on the SAT, and some universities are completely doing away with standardized tests.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield