ST. PAUL, Minn - Minnesota students beat the national average in the ACT college entrance exam.
Minnesota's class of 2012 scored an average of 22.8 out of a possible 36 on the standardized test. Minnesota ranked number one out of states where at least half of students take the test and tenth overall. 74 percent of Minnesota's students take the test.
The national average is 21.1.
Mississippi, where all high school students are required to take the ACT test, came in last with an average score of 18.7.
While the test results show that Minnesota's students lead the nation is preparedness for college, the state's average score fell a tenth of a point from last year.
Governor Mark Dayton's office released a statement pointing to successes of the education system and areas where improvement is needed.
The statement says that Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and Higher Education Commissioner Larry Pogemiller are pleased by Minnesota's performance, but that they "both acknowledged the definite need for growth and increased urgency to ensure all students graduate from high school fully prepared for college and career."
The majority of 2012 graduates in Minnesota met the benchmarks for English, reading and math. Only 42 percent were proficient in science.
The Governor's office also noted that persistent gaps remain between students of color and white students, and that education officials are working to narrow that gap.
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