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ACT scores are the lowest they’ve been in 30 years — here’s what we know

SHARE ACT scores are the lowest they’ve been in 30 years — here’s what we know
An ACT Assessment test is pictured in Springfield, Ill., on April 1, 2014.

An ACT Assessment test is pictured in Springfield, Ill., on April 1, 2014. Scores from 2022 tests are lower than previous years, officials say.

Seth Perlman, Associated Press

The ACT organization released a report that showed that ACT scores are the lowest they’ve been in 30 years.

The ACT organization averaged this year’s graduating class test scores and found that the average composite score was 19.8 out of 36. That makes the class of 2022 the first class to drop below the average score of 20.

What the report showed

USA Today reported that “32% of ACT-tested graduates did not meet three out of the four subject benchmarks in English, reading, math and science.”

The scores also show that of all the ACT-tested graduates, 42% did not meet any of the subject benchmarks in English, reading, science and math, according to NPR.

Along with these numbers, the amount of students actually participating in the ACT has gone down 30% since 2018, according to The Associated Press.

Why this matters

“Academic preparedness is where we are seeing the decline,” the state partnership senior director for ACT, Rose Babington, said. “Every time we see ACT test scores, we are talking about skills and standards, and the prediction of students to be successful and to know the really important information to succeed and persist through their first year of college courses.”

ACT CEO Janet Godwin said in a statement that the decline in the average this year is of concern, even though the scores have been going down at a steady rate.

“We see rapidly growing numbers of seniors leaving high school without meeting college-readiness benchmarks in any of the subjects we measure,” Godwin said in a statement, per The Associated Press.

What can be done

While many have speculated that this decline comes specifically from the pandemic alone, Godwin said that although the pandemic enlarged the problem, there are many factors that have come together to form this issue.

“These systemic failures require sustained collective action and support for the academic recovery of high school students as an urgent national priority and imperative,” Godwin said in a statement, according to USA Today.

While some offer the solution of going back to the way things were before the pandemic, Godwin said that will not solve the issue, as the declining scores have been the trend even before the world shut down due to COVID-19.

“This is the fifth consecutive year of declines in average scores, a worrisome trend that began long before the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has persisted,” Godwin said.