• Robin Glembotzky

ACT Scores-looking back and forward

Over the past few decades the ACT scores have risen, but there have been some, interesting, developments. Let's take a look.

Year # of Test Takers English Math Reading Science Composite

1992-1993 875,603 20.3 20.1 21.2 20.8 20.7

1994 891,714 20.3 20.2 21.2 20.9 20.8

1995 945,369 20.3 20.2 21.3 21 20.8

1996 924,663 20.3 20.2 21.3 21.1 20.9


In the early to mid '90's, we see just slight increase in the Math and Reading Scores. Science, did far a bit better.


Year # of Test Takers English Math Reading Science Composite

1997 959,301 20.3 20.6 21.3 21.1 21

1998 995,039 20.4 20.8 21.4 21.1 21

1999 1,019,053 20.5 20.7 21.4 21 21

2000 1,065,138 20.5 20.7 21.4 21 21

2001 1,069,772 20.5 20.7 21.3 21 21


Around the turn of the century, we see, again, a slight increase in Math, but, this time, English has increased as well. Reading seems to, overall, remain the same and Science drops.


In 2002, we see all English, Math, and Science, as well, as the composite increase. However, Reading scores rise from 2002 to 2007, then drop back down to 2004 levels. What does this mean?

It means that students may not be as ready for college courses as they thought.

On October 18, 2018, the ACT released their "Condition of College and Career Readiness Report". This report looks at the 55% of high school graduates who took the ACT before their graduation. That is 1.9 million graduates. The ACT concluded:

1) There was a 1% drop in the number of student ready for college coursework, as compared to 2017. In 2017, 39% met the benchmark, in at least three of the core subject areas. 2018 found only 38%.

2) While Math and English scores have declined since 2014, Science and Reading seem to fluctuate, never showing a consistent trend.

3) In the words of the ACT, "College readiness levels remain dismal for underserved learners". Less than 25% of this group is ready for college.

4) The average composite score dropped, from 21, in 2017, to 20.8, in 2018.


Honestly, no one has found a solid answer to this. Some believe it has to do with the No Child Left Behind Act. Many teachers feel it was a result of just pushing a student along who wasn't ready to advance. And how the curriculum was altered so that students could advance, even if they didn't, fully, understand the material. To figure out where the issue lies, will take a number of years. In the meantime, you're in high school. And you're thinking, "I don't have years! How do I make sure I'm not one of the average students the ACT talks about?"


The answer, I believe, is both easy and difficult, at the same time. It's to study with the intent of fully understanding everything you need to, to score what you want to.

Yes, it's that simple-Study. And yes, it's that difficult-Study. But the key is to make sure your studying for these exams are focused. That you are honest, with yourself, and take the time to learn from your mistakes. That you plan out your study schedule and stick to it. And if you need help, get it.

Everyone has a dream college. Do everything you can to make sure you attend yours.





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