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Tennessee Tops Nation in College Entrance Exam Participation

Monday, April 26, 2021 | 12:12pm



178,000+ ACT Tests Have Been Taken by Tennessee Students Since June 2020; More than Any Other State

Nashville, TN—Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced that since June 2020, Tennessee has administered more than 178,000 ACT tests statewide, which is more than any other state in the country. 

“As a state, we are deeply committed to ensuring our students receive a great education and are ready for success after high school graduation. This accomplishment did not happen by accident,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn.  “We want to thank our students, families, teachers, counselors, schools and districts for making student readiness a priority even during challenging times. This shows the emphasis Tennessee students, families and educators are placing on college and career readiness.” 

Due to pandemic disruptions, there were lost testing opportunities in the spring of 2020, but the department, in partnership with ACT, Inc., was able to provide opportunities both during the week and on weekends, helping lead Tennessee to the nation’s top spot in overall tests given once ACT testing resumed in June 2020. 

Tennessee students were offered more than 20 ACT testing opportunities this school year, including during the week, on the weekends, and three additional testing dates are available for students this spring. 

“Tennessee educators understand the importance of the ACT and see how relevant it is to opening doors and creating future opportunities for our students,” said Jacob Sorrells, Director of Schools, Marshall County Schools. “It is a real testament to our teachers', counselors' and school staffs' desire to see the students of Tennessee have the same opportunities for success on the ACT as their peers that came before them.  I am particularly proud of and thankful to the staff here in Marshall County for always putting our students first regardless of our circumstances.  Our teachers stepped up when it mattered most, and they should be applauded!” 

Tennessee’s high school juniors and seniors can take the ACT for free, through the state’s Basic Education Program funding for juniors. Additionally, in 2017, Tennessee instituted the high school senior retake program, paid for in full by the department as part of the state’s commitment to encourage college participation. 

ACT results serve as a nationally-normed measure to indicate college and career readiness. Under Tennessee’s accountability model, earning a 21 on the ACT is one of the four ways that students can indicate that they are prepared for life after high school and a seamless entry into postsecondary education, the workplace, or the military. Tennessee ACT scores will be available later this year. 

“Since the pandemic began, Tennessee has tested more students with the ACT than any other state,” said Catherine Hofmann, Vice President of State and Federal Programs for ACT, Inc. “The tenacity and sheer drive by Tennessee educators, parents, and leaders to provide students with every possibility to be successful is to be applauded.” 

Information about Tennessee’s ACT and SAT college readiness testing can be found here

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact Edu.MediaInquiries@tn.gov

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