(AP) High school students’ scores on the ACT college admissions test have dropped to their lowest in more than three decades, showing a lack of student preparedness for college-level coursework, according to the nonprofit organization that administers the test.
Scores have been falling for six consecutive years, but the trend accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students in the class of 2023 whose scores were reported Wednesday were in their first year of high school when the virus reached the U.S.
The average ACT composite score for U.S. students was 19.5 out of 36. Last year, the average score was 19.8. In Missouri that average score for the class of 2023 was 19.8. In Kansas it is 19.4, and 20.8 in Iowa.
The average scores in reading, science and math all were below benchmarks the ACT says students must reach to have a high probability of success in first-year college courses. The average score in English was just above the benchmark but still declined compared to last year.