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ACT Scores Are At A Low Point

The U.S. high school Class of 2022 had the lowest average ACT score in more than three decades.

Data released by the ACT this month showed that more than 40% of 2022 high school graduates did not meet any of the ACT college readiness benchmarks.

“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,” ACT CEO Janet Godwin says in a statement. “The magnitude of the declines this year is particularly alarming, as we see rapidly growing numbers of seniors leaving high school without meeting the college-readiness benchmark in any of the subjects we measure.”


The Class of 2022 has endured the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for three academic years now. However, experts say, the drop in ACT scores can’t solely be tied to the pandemic. Rather, Godwin says, the pandemic simply exacerbated long-time systemic failures.

“A return to the pre-pandemic status quo would be insufficient and a disservice to students and educators. 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 explains.


In an effort to increase equity and inclusion, some states have sought to ban standardized tests for college admissions. In 2021, the University of California (UC) system announced that it would no longer consider SAT and ACT scores for admissions or scholarships.

Board Chair Cecilia Estolano says eliminating SAT and ACT testing requirements was one of her proudest moments as a regent.

“We know we’re dealing with generations of educational inequity baked in discrimination, baked in structural impediments to our students,” Estolano tells the Los Angeles Times. “If we’re going to continue to try to expand educational access in an equitable way … we have to provide the supports to enable our students to succeed.”

Sources: ACT, CNN, Los Angeles Times

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