What are the average scores for students taking the ACT?
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|
|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.
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