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TDOE Releases 2023 ACT Senior Retake Data

1 out of 3 ACT-Tested Seniors Now Qualify for HOPE Scholarship

The Tennessee Department of Education released data on the 2023 ACT Senior Retake, which provides public high school seniors with an additional opportunity to boost their score on the ACT for free. Thanks to the retake opportunity, the number of high school seniors who took the ACT in 2023 and are now eligible for the state HOPE Scholarship has increased to 24,623, representing one out of three seniors.  

Tennessee leads the nation in ACT access, becoming the first state in the nation to offer public high school seniors the opportunity to take the ACT two times for free during normal school hours and boasts strong statewide ACT participation rate of 99% for the graduating class of 2023. Public school students test once in the spring of their junior year, and then have an opportunity to retake the ACT in the fall of their senior year during normal school hours.  

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Across the state, over 423,000 students have participated in the retake opportunity since inception in 2018. In fall 2023, 51,745 students participated in the retake opportunity and 77% of those students increased their superscore, the average of the highest sub scores from each subject of all test attempts. Additionally, economically disadvantaged students increased their composite score by 2.02 points and superscore by 2.36 points and students with disabilities increased their composite score by 2.01 points and superscore by 2.35 points.  

“Every student should have the opportunity to qualify for additional scholarship funding and improve their chances to pursue postsecondary education,” said Lizzette Reynolds, Commissioner of Education . “We thank the General Assembly for implementing and supporting this program, which has made education beyond high school a reality for thousands of Tennessee students.” 

Key Highlights from the 2023 ACT Senior Retake Opportunity: 

  • Of the 51,745 students who participated in the retake, 77% increased their superscore and 65% scored higher on two or more subjects 
  • Tennessee’s retakers exceed national ACT score increases with an average increase of 2.09 points compared to one point nationally 
  • With an average composite score increase of 0.5 points, 49% of students scored higher on the retake  
  • A total of 4,147 (8%) students became eligible for the HOPE scholarship after participating in the retake opportunity, with 537 (12.9%) are Black, 494 (11.9%) are Hispanic, and 746 (17.9%) are economically disadvantaged students 

Since 2018, the General Assembly has provided funding for the ACT Senior Retake in every budget, with over 88,000 students having earned the necessary score to qualify for the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship. This totals over $550M to support future postsecondary opportunities for students across the state.   

In 2022, the department earned the inaugural ACT State Equity and Access Champion Award, which celebrates and honors the state’s commitment to postsecondary access by enabling more students to achieve their goals and dreams. 

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The ACT is a comprehensive college entrance exam covering a wide range of subjects that assesses students’ readiness for college. Students who score a 21 or higher on the ACT meet the criteria for Ready Graduate, the state’s indicator to reward schools and districts whose high school graduates demonstrate postsecondary readiness.  

To learn more about the state’s college readiness testing program, including the ACT and SAT, visit the department’s  College Readiness Testing webpage here:

https://www.tn.gov/education/districts/lea-operations/assessment/act-sat.html

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