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MCPS students outperformed peers in Maryland and nationwide by significant margins on the ACT

September 27, 2017

For the past five years, MCPS graduates have outpaced the state in performance on the ACT college readiness exam. The average composite score for MCPS class of 2017 was 25.1, a steady increase from 23 in 2013.  Participation among MCPS students has also increased, from 3,181 in 2013 to 4,230 in 2017.  Nearly 40 percent of MCPS graduates in the Class of 2017 took the ACT, which represents an increase of almost five percentage points compared to the Class of 2016.

MCPS Class of 2017 graduates outscored their state peers in each of the four subject areas: English, mathematics, reading and science. In examining the percentages of students ready for college-level coursework as determined by ACT, Inc., 82 percent of the Class of 2017 met the English composition benchmark of at least an 18 on the ACT English test. This is an increase of 3 percentage points compared to last year.   

Additionally, 68 percent met the college Algebra benchmark (1 percentage point increase), 72 percent met the Social Science benchmark (5 percentage point increase) and 63 percent met the Biology benchmark (2 percentage increase). 

According to MCPS data, 40 percent of graduates from the Class of 2017 took the ACT, which represents an increase of 4 percentage points over the previous year. For the past four years, the percent of graduates taking the ACT has hovered around 30 percent.  ACT participation also increased among all racial groups:


% Participation












Black / African American



















ACT, Inc. reports that 55 percent of the Class of 2017 met all four college readiness benchmark scores (an increase of 3 percentage points). The benchmark scores established by ACT indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or a 75 percent chance of earning a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course.

The ACT is important for students because most four-year colleges and universities use ACT scores as part of their admissions process. Scored on a 36-point scale, the test is designed to measure academic learning and identify student readiness for college and career. It focuses on skills and knowledge deemed important by high school teachers and instructors of first-year college courses.




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