‘Failing our kids’: ACT scores fall to lowest average in 30 years

By Jeremiah Poff via The Washington Examiner

The average ACT score for high school graduates in 2022 was a full half a point lower than the year before and the lowest composite score average in three decades, according to a new report. 

The average score on the mainstay college entrance exam for high school graduates in 2022 was a 19.8, the lowest in 30 years and a significant drop from the 20.3 average turned in by the class of 2021. The report is the latest evidence of widespread learning loss brought about by extended school closures.

The report found that 42% of test-takers failed to reach any of the necessary benchmarks in English, reading, science, and math, a 4% increase from the year before. Conversely, only 22% of students who took the ACT achieved the benchmarks in all four subjects, down from 25% the year before.

“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,” ACT CEO Janet Godwin said in a press release. “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.” 

Conservative activists took the news of the report as an opportunity to highlight the need for expanded school choice policies. 

In a statement to the Washington Examiner, Laura Zorc, a former Florida school board member and the executive director of Building Education for Students Together, blasted the news, saying, “Retooling education to appease activists, shutting down schools, and trying to hide falling language arts and math proficiencies in K-12 education is failing our kids.”

“Students graduating from high schools across the country today are less prepared for life, work, and even college,” Zorc said. “It is time for state education dollars to follow students, not systems, which would allow parents to remove their kids from failing government schools.”

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