Utah students miss grade on ACT exams

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Utah students are not making the grade when it comes to college placement exams. The ACT released numbers Wednesday for every state in the nation. 76% of Beehive students missed that college readiness benchmark in math, science, reading and English.

Utah juniors are doing slightly better than 2013’s composite score. In 2013, Utahns made a composite score of 20.7 and in 2014, that score went up to 20.8. Overall, Utah ranks below the national average in getting kids ready for college.

“The first time I didn't know what to expect,” said Utah student Kenzie Redford.

It’s the test taking jitters almost all Utah High School Junior have over the grueling act exam. 17-year-old Kenzie Redford took the ACT exam twice.

“Math was probably the hardest because it goes all the way back to the eighth grade,” said Kenzie Redford.

According to the report, only 39% of Utah students met college readiness benchmarks for that subject. On average, Beehive students ranked lower than the national average. Utah Commissioner of Higher Education Dave Buhler says it’s a snapshot of a student’s knowledge.

“It’s not a matter of test-taking strategies. It's a matter of what they've learned in the classroom,” said Buhler.

And with Utah’s high teacher-student ratio, kids might be falling through the cracks.

“When you have more students per teacher, obviously that means less individual attention, so I’m sure that's a factor as well,” said Buhler.

Buhler says maybe Beehive kids aren’t being challenged by not taking harder, more advanced classes.

“Teachers and counselors to say not what the minimum to get by is, but what's the most you can do,” said Buhler.

But its parents like Jody Redford who Buhler says have the most influence over their kids. That’s why Jody pushes her daughter to start thinking about college early.

“You've got to start early in knowing what you want and take the subjects of what you would like to do to set you on that track,” said Jody Redford.

If you want to take a closer look at the numbers, click here.

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