Hawai‘i Ranks High on ACT College Prep Test

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The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2017 report released by the ACT, a research-based non-profit organization, shows that Hawai‘i’s public school students have continued to see steady growth in meeting college readiness benchmarks in reading and science.

This was the fourth year that the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) 11th graders were required to take the ACT, which landed Hawai‘i in the top 20 states for the percentage of graduates taking the college prep test.

“The growth that Hawai‘i graduates have shown in college readiness since the state began administering the ACT to all students in 2013 has been remarkable,” said Paul Weeks, ACT senior vice president for client relations. “Steady gains in states are not unusual, but we rarely see this type of improvement over such a short period of time.”

Hawai‘i’s public school students continue to show improvements in performance since the test became part of the curriculum four years ago. The 0.7 point composite score increase (36 point scale) outpaced the national average, which remained flat during the same time period.


The results for the ACT’s college readiness benchmarks for HIDOE’s Class of 2017 resulted in these year-over-year changes for the state:

A 2 percent improvement in science and reading

A 3 percent decrease in mathematics

Unchanged English scores


In each of the four subjects, ACT sets a college-readiness benchmark, which is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course.

The benchmarks are set based on national data. Similar to the composite scores, Hawai‘i’s percentage increases in meeting college readiness benchmarks outpaced the national average.

“The results from the ACT provides valuable insight and highlights areas we should focus our efforts and resources in order to help our students compete with their peers on a national level,” added Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “We will continue to work towards improving our testing portfolio to align with our ESSA and strategic plans, and will rely on our students to continue to tell us what we can do to help them achieve their college and career goals.”

HIDOE supports high schools that administer the ACT by providing funding and support. The department views it as part of the college and career readiness process.


The ACT results provide students information about their readiness or postsecondary education, a score they can use for college admissions and placement, and information about how to better prepare for postsecondary education during their senior years.

It is one of only two readiness examinations used for U.S. college and university admissions and was taken by approximately 2 million 2017 graduates nationwide and 10,051 Hawai‘i public high school students.

For more details, view The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2017 report here

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