Nevada Department of EducationNevada Department of Education

    Nevada ACT Scores Improve

    September 10, 2018

    CARSON CITY, Nev. – For the first time since taking the ACT became a high school graduation requirement four years ago, Nevada’s average composite scores rose in math, reading, and English reflecting an increase in our combined score from 17.4 last year to 17.5 in 2018 and the College Ready benchmark increased one point from last year to 11 percent.

    “Adopting the ACT requirement was a significant change in our expectations to ensure our students are prepared to compete for industries demanding a skilled workforce in our new economy,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “We still have a long way to go, but we are moving in the right direction in our efforts to become the fastest improving state in the nation.”

    Final ACT results will be part of the release of Nevada’s School Performance Framework that will go live Friday, Sept. 14 at 9:30 a.m. at . Preliminary highlights from Nevada’s 2018 ACT results include:

    • The percent of students who met the math benchmark is up from 19 to 21 percent over the past year;
    • The percent of student who met the science benchmark is up from 15 to 17 percent over the past year;
    • The composite score for American Indian/Alaska Native students is up 0.5 points to 16;
    • The composite score for Asian students is up 0.6 points to 20.6;
    • The composite score for Black/African-American students is up 0.3 points to 15.3;
    • The composite score for Hispanic/Latino students is up 0.2 points to 16.4;
    • Fifty percent of student scored a silver or higher on a cross walk to WorkKeys, an indicator of career readiness.

    “A consistent theme running through Nevada’s results is that course rigor is important,” Canavero said. “All student sub-groups do better when they have access to rigorous coursework. The new College and Career Ready diploma and the increase in rigor of the Standard diploma through the College and Career Flex Credit will help more kids get into these classes.”

    Thirty-three percent of students who took three or more years of math beyond Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry were college ready (meeting benchmarks). Twenty-three percent of students who took at least three years of science coursework were college ready. For comparison, 18 percent of students who took the ACT met three or four benchmarks, an improvement of 1 percent from last year.

    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.

    Nevada’s students showed improvement on average ACT scores in three of the four national benchmark categories:

    • English: Nevada improved from 16.1 last year to 16.3 while the national benchmark is 18.
    • Math: Nevada improved from 17.6 last year to 17.8 while the national benchmark is 22.
    • Reading: Nevada improved from 17.6 last year to 17.9 while the national benchmark is 22.
    • Science: Nevada remained steady at 17.7 while the national benchmark is 23.


    Greg Bortolin
    Public Information Officer