A Look At The 2015 NC ACT Scores – #NCed


The 2015 ACT Scores are out and five years after the introduction and implementation of Common Core, the scores are ‘stagnant’.

“The needle is barely moving on college and career readiness, and that means far too many young people will continue to struggle after they graduate from high school,” said ACT Chief Executive Officer Jon Whitmore. “This should be a wake-up call for our nation.” – ACT Press Release, 8/26/15

Yes, a wake-up call that Common Core isn’t doing what supporters said it would.

isnt-common-core greatRemember – North Carolina adopted Common Core in 2010 and started using the standards four years ago, at the start of the 2012-2013 school year.

While the nation’s scores are ‘stagnant’, there’s no other way to say it for North Carolina. Our scores aren’t stagnant, they’re frankly bad.

The ACT website has a chart which shows the percentage of 2015 ACT tested graduates in each state who met or exceeded the ACT College Readiness Benchmark score in english, math, reading and science.

There is the capability to sort this ACT chart and North Carolina’s “College Readiness” benchmark scores, compared to the rest of the nation, were near the bottom of the pile in nearly every category.

  • Composite Benchmark score nationally was 21 and NC’s was 19, which was third from last place. If you discount Hawaii, who doesn’t test 100% of their students, North Carolina was tied for last with Mississippi.
  • English Benchmark score nationally was 64 and NC’s was 47, which was also third from last place.
  • Reading Benchmark  score nationally was 46. NC scored a 34 which was fourth from last place.
  • Math Benchmark score nationally was 41 and NC scored a 32. NC tied with Kentucky (Common Core’s first adopter) and only 5 states scored lower than us.
  • Science Benchmark nationally was a 38 and NC scored 26 with three states scoring lower than us.

In all five areas, North Carolina ACT scores have taken a nose dive since 2011.


The NC Profile report’s results have a section where they are broken out by ethnicity. Pay attention to the minority scores in “Table 1.5. Five Year Trends—Percent and Average Composite Score by Race/Ethnicity”.

Minorities, in particular African American students, have been hardest hit.  Given the historical results, one has to ask, is Common Core racially biased?

Related Reading:

Useful Links:

Access North Carolina’s Readiness and ACT Profile reports for 2015:

  • Readiness Report
    PDF; 20 pages
    Link: http://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/2015_CCRR_North_Carolina.pdf
  • ACT Profile Report
    PDF; 34 pages
    Link: http://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/new-research/2015_Profile_Report_North_Carolina.pdf



About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips: APDillon@Protonmail.com
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