SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah students have earned the highest average ACT score among the nine states that have near-full participation in the test.
The average Utah composite score on the college entrance exam was 20.7 among the Class of 2013. That's higher than Illinois, which averaged 20.6, and Colorado, which averaged 20.4.
Officials say the score held steady from 2012 to 2013 even after the number of students taking the test increased by 1,700.
Utah has been participating in a pilot program that encourages all students to take the test. Beginning this school year, the state will pay for all Utah students in 11th grade to take the exam.
State superintendent Martell Menlove says the new data show that Utahns are getting an extraordinary return on their education investments.