Wisconsin ACT scores drop below national average

The state score is down 1.7 points from last year

MENOMONEE FALLS -- The average score for Wisconsin students taking a college entrance exam is now below the national average. The average score for Wisconsin students taking the ACT is 20.5. The national average is 20.8

These are the first results to come back since all schools in Wisconsin began requiring every high school senior to take the ACT. We spoke with people in Menomonee Falls who have mixed feelings about it.

Parents had positive things to say about the way Menomonee Falls High School prepares its students for the test.  But, they weren't so sure the state should be requiring it of the entire graduating class.

“It should be their option. It’s a long and drawn out test," said Bob Kapp, parent.

Last year, the average ACT score in Wisconsin was 22.2.  That's when 73 percent of graduating seniors here took the college entrance exam. 18 states, including Wisconsin, now require 100 percent participation.

“They’re trying to push college, college, college and they have to realize, that’s not the answer for all kids," said Andrew Oswald, Menomonee Falls High School 2015 graduate.

"And once you start putting everybody into the mix, including those students who don't necessarily have a desire to go on to college, and are being mandated to take a test, that affects data,"  said Denise Moen of Wisconsin Test Prep.

Parents are increasingly turning to tutors and books.

“We provide a 16-hour, seven-week ACT prep course," said Moen.

Moen teaches the $150 course, which fills up quickly. They don't guarantee higher scores, but tend to find students who do their homework do well.

“And she emailed me to share that her score went up from 26 to 30, which for her and the particular college she chose, meant a $10,000 per year scholarship," said Moen.

Despite scholarship opportunities, time and money do keep some college-bound students out of any prep course.  Parents whose children play on varsity teams say they can't commit to any more time in a classroom and others say they simply can't afford it.
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