AP - AUSTIN — Hispanic students taking the ACT college entrance exam reached an all-time high this year, making up 25 percent of the students tested in the state, the Texas Education Agency said today.
"We're encouraged by this rise in participation among minority students," said Shirley Neeley, Texas education commissioner. "We need to do all we can to help all students, regardless of race or family income, prepare themselves for college, trade school, the military or other post-high school options."
This year, 17,969 Hispanic students took the ACT, up from 15,695 in 2001.
The state also saw a jump in black students who took the test, from 7,788 in 2001 to 9,527 this year. While the participation rate increased, the state's score remained unchanged at 20.2 out of a possible 36. The national average is 20.9.
The ACT includes four test sections covering, English, reading, math and science. Texas students lagged the national average in science, English and reading.
"It's disappointing to see the English and reading scores drop slightly," Neeley said. "We've got to do a better job preparing our high school students."