College prep classes help ACT scores

LITTLE ROCK, AR (AP) - Arkansas high school students who took a full complement of college-prep courses fared considerably better on the ACT college-entrance exam than students taking less than a full load.

ACT figures released Wednesday showed that 17,134 Arkansas students taking a tougher course load scored nearly 5 points higher, on average, than those who didn't take 4 years of English and 3 years or more of math, social science and natural science.

Those students' marks of 21.5 in English, 21.9 in reading and 21.0 in science exceeded the national overall average. A 20.9 in math was just below the national figure on a 0-36 scale.

When scores from 4,358 students who didn't take a full course load were included, Arkansas students were at or below the national figures.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)