OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - All Oklahoma high school juniors now have to take the ACT. In 2019, the average ACT score fell in Oklahoma, and almost half of Oklahoma 11th graders failed to qualify as college-ready by ACT standards.
"We expected to see that this year, but this is just the baseline," said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.
Hofmeister is talking about the .4% fall in state ACT scores in 2019.
The state says this is the first time since they mandated all 11th graders to take the national test that all students, not just college bound kids, were accounted for.
"We have moved 22,000 to 44,000 students, and that`s why you see a small decline." said Hofmeister
According to a recent ACT report, the Oklahoma average test score of 18.9 ranked 41st of 50 states. Oklahoma ranks 12th of 15 states that require all students to take the ACT. According to the report, 46% of state students fall below the ACT set college-ready benchmark, but officials say they are changing K-12 ciricullum to focus more on the ACT.
"By doing that earlier in preschool, kindergarten and elementary, we are setting the stage for knocking out of the park by the time our kids are in high school," said Hofmeister.
The falling test scores concern some Oklahoma educators.
"Yeah that bothers me. That's part of why we do what we do here," said Karen Henderson.
Henderson runs the ACT prep program at Francis Tuttle Tech Center. She says being exposed to a national test like the ACT for the first time can be nerve-racking for students. She thinks it would be a good idea for Oklahoma schools to have more test prep in the classroom.
"With anybody, the more you take something, the more you do it, usually the better you get," Henderson said.
But state officials disagree.
"We are not interested in test prep. We want learning for the long run," Hofmeister.
Before, a minimum score was needed on the End of Instruction test to graduate, but now it appears there is no baseline on the ACT needed for a diploma.
"The student themself is not actually having to pass a certain test score because we don`t want to be about test prep," said Hofmeister.
Hofmeister tells News 4 that courses like the new state-offered College Career Ready Math class has led to a nearly three-point increase on the ACT math test.