Hawaii public high school graduates show improvements in ACT exam


More students in the Class of 2015 hit college-ready benchmarks in all four areas of the prominent college entrance exam — English, Math, Reading and Science — than in the year before. Hawaii tests all of its juniors in the ACT. Class of 2015 represents juniors who took the exam in spring 2014.



The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2015 report released today by ACT notes a 2 percentage point overall improvement in college readiness across all subjects (English, Math, Reading and Science) for Hawaii’s Class of 2015, which included 11,957 Hawaii high school public and private students — a record, with an estimated 93 percent of the state’s graduating class taking the ACT exam. 

Public school graduates saw a 1 percentage point increase in meeting all four college-ready benchmarks. Hawaii's public school system tests all of its juniors in ACT. Per subject, public school students improved in all areas: 

  • +3 percentage points in English 
  • +1 percentage point in Math 
  • +3 percentage points in Reading 
  • +2 percentage points in Science 

For the Class of 2015, each percentage point represents 103 seniors. ​

“The improvements affirm our focus on supporting all students for success after high school,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “A sustained focus on college and career readiness is showing results for our students. We’re very pleased to see steady progress.” ​

Graduating ​Class

Public School Students

English ​Benchmarks

Math ​Benchmarks

Reading Benchmarks Science Benchmarks Met all 4 Benchmarks

The composite score (the average score for all four exams) for Hawaii public school graduates in 2015 shows a modest increase to 17.5 from 17.3. It’s lower than the national composite score of 21.0, however, the national rate remained flat from 2014 to 2015, while Hawaii showed growth. 

“Affording all Hawaii’s public high school students the opportunity to take the ACT provides useful information for charting individual college plans,” stated Deputy Superintendent Stephen Schatz. “We are always looking at ways to improve how we teach our students. In taking a national exam of this magnitude, we can measure college preparedness and improvements to our college and career programs in our schools.” 

The ACT is one of two examinations used widely for U.S. college and university admissions and is taken by approximately 1.9 million students nationwide each year. The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each exam is graded on a scale of 1-36, and a student's single composite score is the average of the four test scores. 

In each of the four subjects, ACT sets a college-readiness benchmark — 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-level data. 

HIDOE provides all high school juniors with the opportunity to take the ACT test in the spring of their junior year. Students use the results for college admissions and to inform courses to take in their senior year, and schools and HIDOE use the information as a measure of high schools’ preparation of students for college and career readiness. 

For more information about the ACT, including a copy of the state report, visit http://www.act.org/content/act/en/research/condition-of-college-and-career-readiness-2015.html

About the Hawaii State Department of Education
The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth-largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 256 schools and 34 charter schools, and serves about 180,000 students. King Kamehameha III established Hawaii’s public school system in 1840. Learn about our Milestones of Transformation.


Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: (808) 784-6200

Email: doeinfo@k12.hi.us

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