Report: ACT Scores Drop Again; Math Scores Hit 14-Year Low

Report: ACT Scores Drop Again; Math Scores Hit 14-Year Low

ACT Scores Drop Again; Math Scores Hit 14-Year Low

by TeachThought Staff

According to a new report released on October 17, 2018 by the ACT, performance on the standardized test by nearly 2 million high school students in the United States continues to fall.


  • Student performance on the ACT math test dropped to “its lowest level in more than 20 years—down to 20.5 (on a scale of 1 to 36), continuing a slide from 21.1 in 2012 to 20.7 last year. “
  • Performance on the ACT Reading assessment fell from 47% to 46%.
  • Performance on the ACT Science assessment fell from 37% to 36%.
  • Performance on the ACT English assessment fell from 64% in 2015 to 60% in 2018.
  • Overall ACT Composite Scores fell from 21 to 20.8 (the same level it was in 2016).

Discuss: Are The ACT & SAT Still Relevant For College Admissions?

The report also sheds some light on the growing teacher shortage:

Once again this year, only 4 percent of ACT-tested graduates indicated they plan to pursue a career in education. These numbers point to no relief in sight for the US teacher shortage, which is projected to grow to over 100,000 educators by 2021.

It wasn’t much better for “underserved learners”:

College readiness levels remain markedly low overall for underserved learners (low-income, minority, and/or first-generation college students—who make up 43% of all ACT-tested graduates). Once again, fewer than a fourth of underserved graduates were well prepared for college coursework overall compared to slightly more than half of students who were not considered underserved.

ACT Offers Recommendations To Fix The Problem

Being that this report was created and released by the ACT themselves, they also provided recommendations based on this downward trend. (Here’s hoping this is all tongue-in-cheek.)

  • Give educators the resources they need to help improve educational outcomes
  • Assess student learning and implement improvement strategies starting early in students’ educational careers
  • Provide equitable resources for underserved students
  • Ensure that students’ education is holistic and addresses the needs of the ‘whole learner’
  • Collect, handle, and use assessment data responsibly, with special attention to maintaining its security and quality

Report: ACT Scores Drop Again; Math Scores Hit 14-Year Low