Nebraska ACT Scores Top National Average

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LINCOLN, Neb. A new report says Nebraska's 2014 high school graduates scored higher on the ACT college entrance exam than students nationally and better than the state's 2013 graduates.

The Nebraska Education Department says Nebraska's average ACT composite score was 21.7, seven-tenths of a point higher than the national average of 21.0 out of a possible score of 36. Nebraska's 2013 figure was 21.5.

Statewide, 17,768 graduating seniors took the test, or 86 percent. That's up from 84 percent last year.

"Generally we're doing a really good job in preparing our students for post-secondary opportunities," said Nebraska Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt.

Blomstedt says the results give him a pathway to figure out how to deal with the future of high school graduates in Nebraska.

"It does tell us something about what investments we can make in preparing students for their future," said Blomstedt.

Lincoln Public School's number is a bit lower at 20.7 on the ACT test but the district is on a pilot program that allows every student to take the test.

"Many of those students have actually performed better than they might have thought they would," said LPS director of assessment and evaluation Leslie Lukin.

Lukin says it's worth it for the district to take a hit in the ACT number to provide the test to every high school junior.

"It's so worth it to really talk about opportunities for kids and supporting families and making things easier for students," said Lukin.

Most Midwest colleges and many across the country accept or require the ACT for admission. Many colleges accept or require the SAT exam instead, especially on the coasts.