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Digest of Education Statistics
2016 Tables and Figures All Years of Tables and Figures Most Recent Full Issue of the Digest


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 2016
Score type and test-taker characteristic 1995 2000 2005 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Total test takers                                
Number (in thousands) 945 1,065 1,186 1,301 1,422 1,480 1,569 1,623 1,666 1,799 1,846   1,924   2,090  
Percent of all graduates1 38 38 38 41 43 44 46 47 48 52 53 2  55 2  59 2 
  Average test score3 
Composite score, total 20.8 21.0 20.9 21.2 21.1 21.1 21.0 21.1 21.1 20.9 21.0   21.0   20.8  
Sex                                
Male 21.0 21.2 21.1 21.2 21.2 21.3 21.2 21.2 21.2 20.9 21.1   21.1   20.9  
Female 20.7 20.9 20.9 21.0 21.0 20.9 20.9 21.0 21.0 20.9 20.9   21.0   20.9  
Race/ethnicity                                
White 21.8 21.9 22.1 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.4 22.2 22.3   22.4   22.2  
Black 17.0 17.0 17.0 16.9 16.9 16.9 17.0 17.0 16.9 17.0   17.1   17.0  
Hispanic 18.6 18.7 18.7 18.7 18.6 18.7 18.9 18.8 18.8   18.9   18.7  
Asian/Pacific Islander 21.7 22.1 22.6 22.9 23.2 23.4      
Asian 23.6 23.6 23.5 23.5   23.9   24.0  
Pacific Islander 19.5 19.8 19.5 18.6   18.8   18.6  
American Indian/Alaska Native 19.0 18.7 18.9 19.0 18.9 19.0 18.6 18.4 18.0 18.0   17.9   17.7  
Two or more races 21.1 21.4 21.1 21.2   21.2   21.0  
                                 
Subject-area scores                                
English 20.2 20.5 20.4 20.7 20.6 20.6 20.5 20.6 20.5 20.2 20.3   20.4   20.1  
Male 19.8 20.0 20.0 20.2 20.1 20.2 20.1 20.2 20.2 19.8 20.0   20.0   19.8  
Female 20.6 20.9 20.8 21.0 21.0 20.9 20.8 20.9 20.9 20.6 20.7   20.8   20.6  
                                 
Mathematics 20.2 20.7 20.7 21.0 21.0 21.0 21.0 21.1 21.1 20.9 20.9   20.8   20.6  
Male 20.9 21.4 21.3 21.6 21.6 21.6 21.6 21.6 21.7 21.4 21.4   21.3   21.0  
Female 19.7 20.2 20.2 20.4 20.4 20.4 20.5 20.6 20.6 20.5 20.5   20.4   20.3  
                                 
Reading 21.3 21.4 21.3 21.5 21.4 21.4 21.3 21.3 21.3 21.1 21.3   21.4   21.3  
Male 21.1 21.2 21.0 21.2 21.2 21.3 21.1 21.1 21.2 20.9 21.1   21.2   21.0  
Female 21.4 21.5 21.5 21.6 21.5 21.4 21.4 21.4 21.4 21.4 21.5   21.6   21.6  
                                 
Science 21.0 21.0 20.9 21.0 20.8 20.9 20.9 20.9 20.9 20.7 20.8   20.9   20.8  
Male 21.6 21.6 21.4 21.4 21.3 21.4 21.4 21.4 21.4 21.2 21.2   21.3   21.1  
Female 20.5 20.6 20.5 20.5 20.4 20.4 20.5 20.5 20.5 20.4 20.5   20.6   20.6  
                                 
STEM4 21.3 21.1 21.1   21.1   20.9  
Male     21.3  
Female     20.7  
  Standard deviation5 
Composite score, total 4.7 5.0 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.4   5.5   5.6  
Sex                                
Male 4.9 5.0      
Female 4.6 4.7      
                                 
Subject-area scores                                
English 5.5 6.0 6.1 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.5 6.5 6.6   6.7   6.8  
Male 5.6 6.0      
Female 5.5 5.9      
                                 
Mathematics 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.3 5.3 5.3 5.3 5.3   5.4   5.4  
Male 5.2 5.3      
Female 4.8 4.8      
                                 
Reading 6.1 6.1 6.1 6.2 6.2 6.2 6.2 6.3 6.3   6.4   6.5  
Male 6.1 6.1      
Female 6.0 6.0      
                                 
Science 4.5 4.9 4.9 5.0 5.1 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.5   5.5   5.6  
Male 4.8 4.9      
Female 4.3 4.3      
                                 
STEM4     5.3  
Male      
Female      
  Percent of ACT test takers
Composite score                                
28 or above 10 10 11 12 12 12 13 13 13 13   14   14  
17 or below 25 26 25 26 27 28 28 28 30 30   30   32  
                                 
Planned major field of study                                
Business6  13 11 9 8 11 12 11 10 9 9 9   9   9  
Education7 8 9 6 5 6 7 7 6 6 5 5   5   4  
Engineering8 8 8 6 5 7 8 8 8 8 9 9   10   10  
Health sciences and technologies 17 16 14 17 19 20 19 19 19 19   18   17  
Social sciences9  9 9 7 5 6 7 7 8 9 8 8   8   8  
—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 2016 column shows test-taking members of the class of 2016 as a percentage of all 2015-16 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.
4 The science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) score is derived from students' scores on the ACT mathematics and science tests. The STEM score was developed to gauge students' overall proficiency in mathematics and science.
5 Standard deviations not available for racial/ethnic groups.
6 For years prior to 2011, includes business and management, business and office, and marketing and distribution.
7 For years prior to 2011, includes education and teacher education.
8 Includes engineering as well as engineering technology and drafting.
9 Includes social sciences and philosophy, religion, and theology. For 2011 and later years, also includes law.
NOTE: 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. Some data have been revised from previously published figures.
SOURCE: ACT, High School Profile Report, selected years, 1995 through 2016. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education," 1995-96 through 2009-10; "State Dropout and Completion Data File," 2005-06 through 2012-13; Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data, 2007-08 and 2008-09; Private School Universe Survey (PSS), 1995 through 2013; and National High School Graduates Projection Model, 1972-73 through 2026-27. (This table was prepared May 2017.)

2016 Tables and Figures All Years of Tables and Figures Most Recent Full Issue of the Digest