College-bound students as a whole scored slightly better this year on the ACT entrance exams, with girls doing better, boys staying the same and blacks losing a little ground.
The national average score for graduating seniors this year crept up to 20.9 from 20.8 last year, the American College Testing service said in its annual report Wednesday. Nearly 60 percent of college-bound students take the ACT.
The results are “good news for America,” said Terry Peterson, senior adviser to Education Secretary Richard Riley.
The score range is 1 to 36. The average comes from individual scores of 925,000 high-school graduates taking the test, which covers English, math, reading and science reasoning. Colleges use the ACT and the Scholastic Assessment Test, or SAT, to help measure academic potential.
Girls’ test scores went up again this year and accounted for the overall increase. They raised their average score to 20.8 from 20.7. The average score for boys held steady at 21.