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ACT scores

Question:
What are the average scores for students taking the ACT?

Response:

The ACT (formerly the American College Testing Program) assessment program measures educational development and readiness to pursue college-level coursework in English, mathematics, natural science, and social studies. Student performance on the tests does not reflect innate ability and is influenced by a student's educational preparedness.

In 1995, some 38 percent of all high school graduates took the ACT.1 In 2021, some 35 percent of high school graduates were projected to take the ACT. The minimum score on the ACT is 1 and maximum score is 36.

Number and percentage of graduates taking the ACT test, and average scores by sex and race/ethnicity: Selected years,1995 through 2021
Score type and test-taker characteristic 1995 2000 2005 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Total test takers
Number (in thousands) 945 1,065 1,186 1,480 1,569 1,623 1,666 1,799 1,846 1,924 2,090 2,030 1,915 1,783 1,670 1,295
Percent of all graduates1 38 38 38 44 46 47 48 52 53 2 55 2 58 2 56 2 52 2 49 2 46 2 35 2
Average test score3 
Composite score, total 20.8 21.0 20.9 21.1 21.0 21.1 21.1 20.9 21.0 21.0 20.8 21.0 20.8 20.7 20.6 20.3
Sex                                
Male 21.0 21.2 21.1 21.3 21.2 21.2 21.2 20.9 21.1 21.1 20.9 21.0 20.8 20.5 20.3
Female 20.7 20.9 20.9 20.9 20.9 21.0 21.0 20.9 20.9 21.0 20.9 21.1 20.9 20.8 20.6
Race/ethnicity                                
White 21.8 21.9 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.4 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.2 22.4 22.2 22.1 22.0 21.7
Black 17.0 17.0 16.9 16.9 17.0 17.0 16.9 17.0 17.1 17.0 17.1 16.9 16.8 16.7 16.3
Hispanic 18.6 18.7 18.6 18.7 18.9 18.8 18.8 18.9 18.7 18.9 18.8 18.7 18.5 18.3
Asian/Pacific Islander 21.7 22.1 23.2 23.4
Asian 23.6 23.6 23.5 23.5 23.9 24.0 24.3 24.5 24.6 24.9 24.9
Pacific Islander 19.5 19.8 19.5 18.6 18.8 18.6 18.4 18.2 17.9 17.5 17.2
American Indian/Alaska Native 19.0 18.7 18.9 19.0 18.6 18.4 18.0 18.0 17.9 17.7 17.5 17.3 17.0 16.7 16.9
Two or more races 21.1 21.4 21.1 21.2 21.2 21.0 21.2 21.1 21.0 20.9 20.6

—Not available.
1 Those members of the graduating class who had taken the ACT test as a percentage of all students who graduated in that school year. For example, the 2021 column shows test-taking members of the class of 2021 as a percentage of all 2020–21 high school graduates. Percentages were calculated by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) using NCES data on the total number of high school graduates.
2 Number of high school graduates is projected.
3 Minimum score is 1 and maximum score is 36.

NOTE: Data in this table represent the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Data are for high school graduates who took the ACT test during their sophomore, junior, or senior year. If a student took the ACT test more than once, the composite and subject-area scores from the most recent test were used. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.

SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics. (2022). Table 226.50. Number and percentage of graduates taking the ACT test; average scores and standard deviations, by sex and race/ethnicity; and percentage of test takers with selected composite scores and planned fields of postsecondary study: Selected years, 1995 through 2021 [Data table]. In Digest of education statistics. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d21/tables/dt21_226.50.asp.

Related Tables and Figures:  (Listed by Release Date)