A record number of public high school graduates in the class of 2017 earned college-going scores on the Accredited Certified Training, or ACT®, exam, boosting the state's average score for the fourth consecutive year, according to data released today by the Louisiana Department of Education.

This nation-wide program promotes the National Career Readiness Certificate, which helps potential employers see job seekers’ proficiency in math, reading, and soft skills.

Vernon Parish is a certified Work Ready Community. In the span of just a few years, ACT® is showing a positive impact on employers and potential or current employees.

Debbie Jones with American Moving and Storage said, "I think it's awesome." Since she has implemented ACT® at American Moving and Storage, she has hired people who came in, as applicants, with test scores in hand.

This gives her some insight into that individual's strengths and weaknesses. "They are just better qualified; better ready for the workplace, as compared to those who have not taken the test," she said.

The number of high school graduates achieving college-going ACT® scores has shown marked increase. In the class of 2017, a record 25,704 students scored an 18 or above on the exam, and 15,406 students scored a 21 or above, an increase of 7,397 and 3,896 students, respectively, since 2012.

Currently, the score of 18 currently earns schools an 'A' grade in the state's high school rating system, as it is the performance level at which students admitted to college are generally not required to retake high school courses.

Between 2018 and 2025, the rating system will gradually require a 21 in order for schools to earn A-level points, as it reflects true academic readiness for the next phase of education.

The public school average ACT® score climbed for the fourth year. Louisiana's public school average ACT® score is now 19.6, an increase of 0.1 since last year, and 0.5 since 2013. Louisiana's African-American students now have an average ACT® score of 17.5, outpacing the national average of 17. In September, the ACT® will produce a national report of every state's average score, using the most recent test taken by every student in each state. 

More information can be found at www.workreadycommunities.com.