A new report shows that the average high school student’s ACT college admissions test scores have fallen to their lowest point in 30 years, reflecting an ongoing decline in the quality of education in the United States after the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic.
As Fox News reports, the average scores for the American College Testing (ACT) exams have fallen for the last six years in a row, with the decline becoming noticeably faster in the years during and after COVID. The average score in 2023 was 19.5 out of 36, which comes out to a percentage of 54%. In 2022, the average score was 19.8.
Furthermore, the average scores for reading, math, and science all fell below benchmark levels that are necessary for students to have a chance at succeeding in their first year of college. The only score that remained above the benchmark was English, which nevertheless also saw a decline compared to last year.
“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 Janet Godwin, CEO of ACT Inc., the nonprofit organization of the same name which administers the tests.
At least 1.4 million American students took the ACTs this year, which is an increase from the number of students who took them last year. But that number is still below the levels seen before the pandemic. Out of those 1.4 million, only about 21% – roughly 294,000 – reached their benchmark levels for success in college. Of those who succeeded, ACT Inc. determined that there was an approximately 75% chance of students achieving a score of C or higher in the corresponding college courses, and a 50% chance of achieving a B or higher.
Godwin also emphasized the importance of the tests despite numerous college campuses increasingly turning away from standardized test scores as a factor in the admissions process. Some universities, such as the University of California system, are outright ignoring an applicants’ ACT or SAT scores, even if the scores are submitted in the application.
“In terms of college readiness, even in a test-optional environment, these kinds of objective test scores about academic readiness are incredibly important,” said Godwin.