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Average ACT Score Unchanged Despite Growing Numbers of Test Takers

A report released yesterday by ACT, Inc, indicates that the average national score on the college entrance test has held steady, even though the number of students taken the test has increased.

The national average score on the ACT is 21.1 on a 36 point scale. The test contains four components: math, science, English, and reading. The test also has an optional writing portion that is scored separately.  (The main competitor to the ACT is the SAT.  See our article for more on the differences  between the two tests.)

An article in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education (registration required) explains that the number of students taking the ACT has increased by 25% since 2005.

Much of this increase can be attributed to the fact that five states now require their high school students to take the exam. Those states are Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, and Wyoming.

So it’s interesting to  note that while more and more students are taking the ACT exam–especially in the five states above–not all of these students are flocking to college.  While the average ACT has gone up in Colorado, for example, the percentage of high school graduates going to college (and graduating!) has not gone up all that much.

Further, it’s interesting that with more people taking the test, the average has not fluctuated much.

You can also read about the ACT report in Jacques Steinberg’s article in the New York Times.


Mark Montgomery
Educational Consultant


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