December 09, 2020
Eleventh grade students across all racial/ethnic groups and special populations in Nevada demonstrate proficiency at a higher rate than prior cohorts
CARSON CITY, Nev. – Nevada’s 2020 public high school graduating seniors marked a slight increase over 2019 in ACT composite scores. The average composite score increased from 17.7 to 17.8, bucking the national trend where composite scores fell across the nation for the third year in a row. Nationally, an estimated 49 percent of 2020 graduates took the ACT with an average composite score of 20.6, a decrease from 20.7 in 2019.
“Nevada’s students, families, and educators can be proud that our high school students continue to demonstrate growth,” said Jhone Ebert, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “While we still have work to do to meet and exceed the national average, we are particularly pleased to see proficiency gains for students across all populations. We are hopeful that, despite the changes in our learning environments and instructional delivery due to COVID-19, our students will continue to demonstrate proficiency and growth.”
Class of 2020 ACT Benchmark Results
ACT results provide educators, students, and families personalized information about students’ readiness for postsecondary success. In addition to average composite scores, ACT publishes results relative to College Readiness Benchmarks, which are scores on the ACT subject area tests that represent the level of achievement required for students to have a 50 percent likelihood of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding credit-bearing first-year college courses.
Benchmarks results for Nevada’s 2020 public high school graduates are as follows:
- 38 percent of graduates met the English College Readiness
Benchmark of 18.
- 20 percent of graduates met the Math College Readiness
Benchmark of 22.
- 27 percent of graduates met the Reading College Readiness
Benchmark of 22.
- 20 percent of graduates met the Science College Readiness
Benchmark of 23.
- 12 percent of Nevada graduates met all four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, which is consistent with 2019 results.
- 20 percent of Nevada graduates met 3 or 4 ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, up 1 percentage point from last year.
Class of 2021 College and Career Readiness Results
The ACT was selected as Nevada’s College and Career Ready Assessment by the State Board of Education in 2014. In addition to the data reported above for the Class of 2020, the Nevada Department of Education reports ACT results of the percentage of high school juniors meeting State proficiency in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. Nevada’s high school juniors who took the assessment in spring 2019 demonstrated proficiency at a higher rate than the prior cohort, with a 2.12 percentage point increase in high school ELA proficiency and a 0.26 percentage point increase in mathematics proficiency since 2019.
Eleventh grade students across all racial/ethnic groups and special populations in Nevada demonstrated proficiency in ELA at a higher rate than cohorts beginning in 2018, with students who identify as Black/African American demonstrating the highest gain from 2019 to 2020 with a 4.2 percentage point increase in ELA proficiency. In addition, the cohort demonstrated proficiency at a greater rate in mathematics over the same period, and students who identify as Black/African American demonstrated the greatest difference over prior cohorts with a proficiency rate that was higher by 2.0 percentage points.
The U.S. Department of Education granted the Nevada Department of Education’s (NDE) request for a waiver from assessment and accountability requirements for the 2019-20 school year due to the circumstances created by COVID-19. As a result, ACT and other federal and State assessment results are not posted on NevadaReportCard.com, and Nevada School Performance Framework ratings are not issued for the 2019-20 school year. Since the ACT was administered prior to school building closures, NDE made the determination to share these highlights as an opportunity to celebrate our students and educators and in alignment with NDE’s commitment to equity and transparency in Nevada’s education system.