Wyoming students who graduated high school in 2015 scored slightly higher on the ACT exam than last year’s seniors.
That’s according to a report released Wednesday by the test’s developer, ACT, Inc. Wyoming uses the ACT college entrance exam to measure student achievement.
The average composite score for Wyoming students was 20.2 out of 36—which puts the state in sixth place out of the 13 states where all students are required the ACT.
Wyoming Department of Education Chief Academic Officer Brent Bacon says that’s a slight increase from last year.
“Basically it sets the needle,” says Bacon. “We know we’re moving in the right direction and these scores are showing that, but we do need to improve.”
Wyoming’s average composite score trails other Western states including Montana, Colorado and North Dakota.
Twenty-two percent of this year’s seniors met college readiness benchmarks in all four categories—English, math, reading and science. That’s up from 20 percent last year—and is compared with 28 percent nationally.
Students who indicated an interest in majors or careers in STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—did better. Thirty-one percent of STEM students were deemed college ready in all ACT subject areas.
“STEM is really helping our kids,” says Bacon. “We’re able to compete nationally, and we’re comparing for college and the workforce in Wyoming.”