Minnesota high school students continued to improve their scores this year on the ACT college entrance exam.
The state's ACT scores have long been among the nation's highest and this year is no different. More than 44,000 graduates in Minnesota took the test for an average composite score of 22.9 out of 36. That's almost two points higher than the national average, and an increase over last year's Minnesota scores.
Minnesota's ACT scores also have increased more than a half a point in the past five years -- while the national average has more or less stayed flat.
Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said that might be the result of schools and teachers doing a better job of getting students into the right courses to make them college-ready.
"It's not just about taking three years of math because you could be taking some general mathematics," Seagren said. "But if you're taking a strong algebra course, geometry and some trig, you're going to be more successful -- not only in your tests but when you leave high school."
State comparisons are hard because the percentage of students taking the test varies widely, but the only states with a higher average ACT score than Minnesota were those where fewer than a quarter of high school graduates took the test. In Minnesota, 70 percent of grads took the test.