The average composite score on the ACT for students in Tennessee Public Schools has gone up.

According to the Tennessee Department of Education, the new average is 20.1 which is up from the 2016 average of 19. More than 3,500 additional students took the exam this year.

The results also showed that about 1,800 more Tennessee public school graduates became eligible for the HOPE scholarship. That means they earned composite scores of 21 or higher.

“The ACT allows our students to show they are college and career ready, and crossing the threshold to 20.1 shows we are on the right pathway to prepare more students for life after high school," Education Department Commissioner Candice McQueen said.

Across the state, the results showed students improved in every section of the ACT by increasing their average score in English, reading, math, and science.

According to McQueen, Tennessee is one of 18 states that requires all students to take the ACT or SAT. It's also the first and only state to offer a free opportunity to retake the exam. The Department of Education said nearly 26,000 class of 2017 students took advantage of the ACT Senior Retake Day last fall.

The department said if a student takes the ACT multiple times, it uses the best score. The national ACT results are based off the last score a student received.

You can find full district and state-level results at the Department of Education's website.