Second Year of ACT Results Remain Stable but Reflect Only 10 Percent of Nevada Juniors on Track for College Readiness

Immediate Release


Greg Bortolin


Carson City, NV - July 11, 2016

CARSON CITY, Nev.  - For the second straight year, 10 percent of Nevada's 11 th  graders who took the ACT, met all four of its College Readiness Benchmark Scores.

"Nevada adopted the ACT and participation on the test as a graduation requirement in 2014 because we wanted to put a flag in the ground around the importance of college and career readiness and desired the additional scrutiny this level of transparency would provide," said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction. "We knew then that we were not doing enough to prepare our students for college and career and we know now that we still have a long way to go. Nevada needs to use these results as the legislature, Governor, and State Board intended; as a statewide cry that our students deserve more and Nevada's economy demands more."

Nevada's composite benchmark is 17.4, exactly the same as last year. The number of 11 th graders who took the test, according to ACT, increased from 29,954 to 31,851. There were 11,022 11 th  grade test takers who met the benchmark score in English, 6,015 who met the benchmark in math, 7,681 who met the reading benchmark and 5,489 who met the benchmark in science.   

A benchmark score 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 courses, which include English Composition, Algebra, Social Science and Biology.

In July 2014, the Nevada State Board of Education selected the ACT as Nevada's college and career readiness assessment. Nevada is one of 10 states that require all 11 th  graders to take the ACT as part of a comprehensive plan to raise expectations and prepare students to succeed in college and career readiness.

"Gov. Brian Sandoval and our Legislature recognized in 2015 that our students' educational success and the future of our economy were intertwined and passed a suite of historic K-12 education reforms," Canavero said. "Many of those reforms and investments are just now being deployed.  We believe that these efforts will have a positive impact on our students' preparation and thus ACT scores.  But, we also know that many high school students will miss out on the reforms targeted at the early grades and can't wait for us to figure out college and career readiness in the distant future.  Their future is now."

Last year established a new baseline for student performance on the ACT. With performance levels staying stable in the second year of testing, parents, teachers and students can feel confident in the foundation that has been established.

"It's not the baseline we want for Nevada students," Canavero said. "But, it's the baseline we have and one I'm asking the state to rally around to change."

More complete data from Nevada's 2015-16 ACT tests can be found at