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UTAH SENIORS BEAT PEERS IN MOST ACT CATEGORIES

Utah students raised their performance scores in most academic areas on the American College Testing Program in 1992, slightly outscoring peers in most academic subjects. But while progress was made toward bringing Utah up to the national average in mathematics, the state score remained just under that average.

The College Board also recently released figures on Advanced Placement participation, showing "extraordinarily high" numbers of Utah students taking the college-level examinations while still in high school.Enrollment in AP courses has consistently increased in Utah, from 2,685 students in 1983 to 8,669 in 1992. Those 8,669 students took a total of 13,260 exams on advanced courses during the 1992 school year, the report says.

The percentage of students who qualified for college credit was 70.9 in Utah, compared with 65.4 nationally. Students took advanced courses in 27 subjects.

In the ACT college entrance testing, Utah seniors of the class of 1992 increased the scores over 1991 in every category except reading, where they held steady.

In all, 17,385 Utah seniors took the ACT tests - about 69 percent of the total number of 1992 graduates. The high percentage of students who take the college entrance exam in Utah may lower the score averages somewhat, said David E. Nelson, director of evaluation and assessment. In some states, a smaller percentage take

the tests, representing a larger proportion of the high-achieving students.

As in the past, those students who are taking a rigorous high school program - at least four years of English, three years of math, three years of science and three years of social studies - outscored students taking a lighter program, Nelson said.

The composite score of those whose academic load was greater was 22.5, compared with 20.4 for the group overall. The differences were particularly notable in math, where the rigorous curriculum produced scores about 2.5 standard scale points over the less-intensive courses.

The gap between male and female students continued to close by small degrees. Utah's female students scored higher on both English and reading than male peers, but males had higher scores on scientific reasoning and mathematics.

Enrollment of females in math and science courses is edging upward consistently, Nelson said.

CHART

ACT scores

UTAH NATION

SUBJECT 1991 1992 1991 1992

English 20.6 20.7 20.3 20.2

Mathematics 19.7 19.9 20.0 20.0

Reading 21.9 21.9 21.2 21.1

Science Reasoning 21.2 21.4 20.7 20.7

Composite 21.0 21.1 20.6 20.6

SOURCE: Utah State Office of Education