ACT Test Scores Dip To Lowest Level In More Than 30 Years

 Scores for the ACT standardized test sank to the lowest level in more than three decades for the high school class of 2023, new data shows, the latest indicator that students are still struggling to combat the effects of pandemic learning loss.

The average composite score on the ACT was 19.5 out of 36, the lowest score since 1991, the nonprofit that administers the test reported Tuesday.

Average scores on the college preparatory test’s English, math, reading, and science sections all declined, with English scores dipping slightly more than the others.

ACT scores have been declining since before the pandemic — this year marks the sixth consecutive year scores have fallen. However, since the pandemic, more students are not meeting subject matter benchmarks, meaning their scores suggest they would not be able to get Bs or Cs in entry-level college coursework.

About 43% of high school seniors who took the ACT last year did not meet any of the subject matter benchmarks, up from 36% in 2019. Only 21% of students met all four subject benchmarks.

“The hard truth is that we are not doing enough to ensure that graduates are truly ready for postsecondary success in college and career,” said the ACT nonprofit’s CEO Janet Godwin.

The 1.4 million test takers were high school freshmen when the pandemic hit, disrupting their education with many months of remote learning. Since the pandemic, students across the nation have suffered significant learning loss and, in many cases, are struggling to perform at their grade level.

Math scores plummeted among fourth and eighth graders in almost every state, the Education Department reported last year. Reading scores have also sunk across the country, erasing the previous three decades of progress. Many students returned to classrooms last year reading at the same level as when the pandemic started, putting them two grade levels behind.


Last year, eighth graders had the lowest U.S. history scores on record and among the lowest civics scores, the Department of Education revealed in May. Only about 13% of eighth graders met proficiency standards for U.S. history last year, and only about a fifth of students were proficient or better in civics.

Exacerbating the problem, students in fourth through eighth grade are actually making slower academic progress now than before the pandemic, a study released over the summer showed, dashing hopes that kids would learn faster to make up for learning loss.

Early evidence of learning loss spurred parents across the country to demand schools return to in-person learning, especially after data showed that children were at low risk for serious cases of COVID.

Some parents even ran for school board positions and won, hoping to stop the learning loss in their district.

ACT Test Scores Dip To Lowest Level In More Than 30 Years ACT Test Scores Dip To Lowest Level In More Than 30 Years Reviewed by Your Destination on October 13, 2023 Rating: 5

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