Minnesota tops in ACT scores for 8th straight year

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Minnesota – where all the children are still above average. So say the latest results of ACT college admissions tests, which show that for an eighth straight year, Minnesota students had the best scores in the nation, the Star Tribune reports. The ranking includes states where at least half of students took the test. Minnesota's average score was 23.0, up from 22.8 last year.

Wisconsin and Iowa tied for second, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

And there was more good news, the Star Tribune reported: 39 percent of seniors in Minnesota are "college-ready" – proficient in the four subject areas tested, which is up from 36 percent in 2012.

The state's office of higher education has a graph that charts the state's overall success compared to the national average in recent years.

But here's the bad news: A stubborn, staggering gap in the achievement levels between white and minority students endures. The Star Tribune says 61 percent of white students in Minnesota hit minimum college-readiness levels in at least three of the four subjects. That compares to 16 percent for black students, the newspaper reports.

Here's a state chart that shows test scores going back a decade, sorted by student racial/ethnic background.

Nationwide, only about a quarter of this year’s high school graduates who took the ACT tests are college-ready in reading, math, English and science skills, the Associated Press reported. And nationwide, the achievement gap is even more striking: Only 5 percent of black students are fully ready for life at the next academic level, the AP reports.

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