ACT, Inc., the eponymous organization that administers the ACT exam just shared some bleak but terribly unsurprising findings:
The national average ACT Composite score for the high school class of 2022 was 19.8, the lowest average score in more than three decades, according to data released today by ACT, the nonprofit organization that administers the college readiness exam. It is the first time since 1991 that the average ACT Composite score was below 20.0.
Why doesn’t this admittedly disturbing information come as a shock? Obviously, the learning gap during the global pandemic will continue to manifest for years to come in the form of lower academic achievement. But college readiness has been declining for much longer, as our unacceptable 62.2% national six-year college completion rate shows. Janet Godwin, CEO of ACT, agrees:
“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. 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. These declines are not simply a byproduct of the pandemic. They are further evidence of longtime systemic failures that were exacerbated by the pandemic. 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.”
What can a parent, student, or educator do about broad trends in test scores and college readiness? Nothing. However, every college-bound teen should be supported in earning the kinds of test scores that show objective college readiness using the research-supported benchmarks of tests like the ACT and SAT. The national arrow of reading, writing, and math ability may be, at least for the moment, pointing downwards, but you or your teen don’t have to be just another statistic. More students than you realize are still working, studying, and preparing to reach the very pinnacle of academic achievement. You can too!