Bad ACT: Pre-college test scores hit 30-year lows

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Bad ACTing

The US student population needs to get its act together… or, more specifically, its ACTs — scores for the college admission tests sunk to 30-year lows for the class of 2023.

The average overall score dropped to 19.5 out of 36, the 6th consecutive year that the composite score has declined, with marks in English, math, reading, and science all down at least 1 full point since 2020, and English results falling the most on a relative basis.

College ready (or not)

First introduced in 1959, the ~3-hour ACT exams gauge how ready high schoolers are for college across 4 core subjects. Colleges and universities use the results, in conjunction with SAT scores, to assess prospective students’ applications.

Admissions officers may come under pressure to make their current policies a little more lenient moving forward, as 43% of the class of ‘23 failed to meet the readiness benchmarks across any of the core subject areas. American College Testing, the non-profit organization behind the assessments, pointed to the pandemic as an explanation for the results, highlighting the fact that the “COVID cohort” of students were in their first year of high school when the pandemic broke out.

Interestingly, the same body published a study in August that found evidence of dramatic grade inflation in high schools across the US over the past 12 years — so these poor ACT scores likely came as an even bigger shock to unwitting parents.

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