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August 20, 2003

Frances Marine
(850) 245-0413

Minority Students Lead Improvement In Reading on ACT in Florida
African American and Hispanic students show most significant score increases in reading

TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner Jim Horne today released Florida's results on the ACT, which show that increases in Florida's reading scores resulted from higher scores among minority students. Improvement in reading scores was most significant among African American males, Hispanic males, and Hispanic females. Florida leads the nation in the number of minority students taking the ACT.

"Today's results demonstrate that more of our students are striving for higher education," said Governor Bush. "I'm particularly impressed with the improvement among minority students in reading. It's clear that reading is the key to success, and our state's focus on this front is helping our students open the doors of higher education."

All three main ethnic groups in Florida - white nonhispanics, African Americans, and Hispanics - have higher composite scores than the same groups nationwide. Moreover, all racial-ethnic groups in Florida showed score increases in 2003, which resulted in an across-the-board increase in Florida's composite score.

"Students who take the ACT may use their scores to meet qualifications for scholarship programs, such as Bright Futures, Academic Scholars, and Medallion Scholars," said Commissioner Horne. "As we continue to set high standards and close the achievement gap, more of our minority students will be college bound."

Nearly 56,000 of Florida's 136,225 public and nonpublic high school graduates took the ACT, the largest number ever. Minorities comprise 47 percent of test takers, compared with 27 percent of test takers nationwide. In particular, African Americans represented 19 percent of Florida test takers, compared to 12 percent for the nation. Hispanics made up 15 percent of Florida test takers, compared to 7 percent for the nation.