HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Just 1 in 10 Hawaii public school students in the Class of 2016 earned ACT scores high enough to be considered ready for college-level coursework across four core subjects, newly-released figures show.
Nationally, 26 percent of all Class of 2016 students who took the ACT met college readiness benchmarks in English, mathematics, reading and science.
While Hawaii's figures are disappointing, state Education Department administrators are quick to point out that Hawaii students are making gains in some subjects. They also note that the percentage of Hawaii students who take the test is far greater than other states.
The new figures show that 40 percent of Hawaii public school students in the Class of 2016 met college readiness benchmarks in English, up 1 percentage point from the year before. And 24 percent were considered "college ready" in math, up 2 percentage points from 2015.
"We recognize the need for more of our students to be ready for the rigors of work and study after high school," schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said, in a news release. "We are encouraged by steady gains in our students' college preparation and enrollment."
Some 12,232 Hawaii public and private school students from the Class of 2016 took the ACT college entrance exam, and earned an average composite score of 18.7, according to newly-released figures.
That's slightly higher than the year before, but lower than the national average of 20.8.
Public schools started making the ACT mandatory for all Hawaii public school juniors in 2014.
By making the test free and mandatory for to public school students, some 94 percent of Hawaii Class of 2016 juniors took the test. That's significantly larger than the national average of 64 percent.