The State Collaborative on Reforming Education today released this statement from President and CEO Jamie Woodson on Tennessee’s improved results on the ACT assessment.

Late last year Tennessee was named the fastest-improving state in the nation in academic achievement, second only to the District of Columbia. Today’s news is the second national benchmark in less than a year that shows that Tennessee’s efforts to improve student achievement are paying off.

The percentage of students who are meeting all four college readiness benchmarks continues to increase, a rise of four percentage points since 2010-11.  It is also exciting to see that the actual ACT composite score for Tennessee has increased, placing Tennessee tied for first in growth since last year among states who test more than 90% of students.  The hard work of Tennessee’s teachers, parents, and most importantly students is resulting in real progress.

Raising academic standards, identifying and supporting great teaching, using data to improve teaching and learning, and other important efforts continue to be the right direction for Tennessee.  For too long, our state ranked at the bottom in terms of student achievement.  However we should not be content with being the best of the bottom half, but the best of the best.  Only 19 percent of high school students are prepared for college across all four ACT subject areas, a challenging statistic when the marketplace demands that more students obtain education beyond high school.

We should not turn back or slow down now – we have too much work left to do to prepare all students for success.