Arkansas' ACT Scores Rise Toward National Average

AUGUST 16, 2006 - Posted at 7:55 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas students' average scores in all four categories on the ACT exam rose this year, helping to give the state the best performance among all those that tested at least half their graduating students.

The average composite score among Arkansas students on the college-entrance exam increased from last year's 20.3 to 20.6 this year.  The test is scored from 1 to 36.

According to figures released today, the national average was 21.1, up from 20.9 in 2005.

Arkansas students scored highest in the reading component of the test this year, with an average of 20.9.  This is up from 20.5 in 2005.  Arkansas' math score also jumped .3 points, from 19.6 in 2005 to 19.9 in 2006.

Education Commissioner Ken James attributes the the jump to more rigorous academic standards.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)