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Oklahoma students fall behind in math, science ACT scores

Oklahoma students do as well as the rest of the country in English and reading, but fall behind in science and math, according to an assessment by the ACT, a college-entrance exam company.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Modified: August 22, 2012 at 5:35 am •  Published: August 22, 2012
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A report released Wednesday shows that Oklahoma high school students scored lower than their peers nationally on the ACT college entrance exam.

A few bright spots show progress, but the report shows more work needs to be done, state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi said.

“Oklahoma kids aren't just going to compete with Oklahoma kids for jobs and careers,” she said. “They have to be able to compete nationally and internationally. The gaps remain and we've got to close those gaps.”

Oklahoma fell behind the national average overall, according to the report released by ACT Inc.

Students here averaged a 20.7 out of a possible 36, compared to a 21.1 average nationwide.

Oklahoma students kept up with students nationwide in English and reading, but they fell short in math and science.

The English average in Oklahoma was 20.4, compared to 20.5 nationally, according to the report. The reading score was 21.3 in Oklahoma and nationwide. The math average here was 20.6, below the national average of 20.9.

The biggest gap was in science. Oklahoma students scored an average of 20.1. Nationally, students scored 21.1.

It's a reminder that more work has to be done, Barresi said.

“This is where we need to double down on the rigor and attention in our science courses and our science curriculum,” she said.

More taking exam

The report also shows signs of improvement, Barresi said.

About 80 percent of Oklahoma graduates this year took the ACT — more than ever before. Normally, scores drop when more students are factored into the equation, but Oklahoma scores have remained stable, Barresi said.

“That's a bright indicator,” she said, “but I'm still not satisfied. The results continue to underscore the importance of rigor.”

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