Special Report

How High School Students Did on the ACT Last Year in Every State

Roberto Michel / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

In 2022, roughly 1.3 million graduating high school students – 36% of the total – sat down for the ACT exam. The ACT (formerly the American College Testing Program) assesses college readiness in English, math, science, and reading. Many colleges base admittance on a student’s ACT test results.  

In recent years, an alarming trend has emerged, as ACT scores have steadily declined. According to ACT, Inc., the national average composite score for 2022 graduates decreased from 20.3 in 2021 to 19.8 – the lowest average since 1991. 

In a blog on the ACT website, CEO Janet Godwin noted that only 22% of the students who took the test met all four ACT benchmarks, or the levels at which the organization deems students stand a greater chance of success in higher education. Meanwhile, 42% didn’t achieve any of the benchmarks.

Godwin said the declines began before the pandemic disrupted education, and served as “further evidence of longtime systemic failures exacerbated by the pandemic.” (These are the most and least educated states in America.)

While national scores are down, results vary by state. To compile a list of the average ACT score in every state, 24/7 reviewed data provided by Scholaroo, a global scholarship database. The site calculated the average of all ACT scores taken by high school students in 2022 in all categories – English, math, reading, and science. (Here are the 21 states where students score the worst on math tests.)

Click here to learn how high school students did on the ACT last year in every state

Massachusetts and California tied for the highest average composite score at 26.5. Connecticut (26.3), New Hampshire (25.7), and New York (25.3) round out the top five. What made the difference in those states? It’s hard to say, with many factors, including school funding, involved. But as Scholaroo points out, all those states except California have the lowest incidence of teacher shortages in the country. 

Source: Wolterk / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Alabama
> Avg. composite score: 18.0 — 4th lowest
> Avg. English score: 17.3 — 7th lowest
> Avg. math score: 17.4 — 4th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 18.5 — 3rd lowest
> Avg. science score: 18.2 — 3rd lowest

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Source: lippyjr / Getty Images

Alaska
> Avg. composite score: 20.4 — 26th highest
> Avg. English score: 19.3 — 25th lowest
> Avg. math score: 20.0 — 25th highest
> Avg. reading score: 21.4 — 25th highest
> Avg. science score: 20.4 — 25th highest

Arizona
> Avg. composite score: 18.4 — 6th lowest
> Avg. English score: 17.3 — 5th lowest
> Avg. math score: 18.5 — 11th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 18.8 — 5th lowest
> Avg. science score: 18.5 — 5th lowest

Source: HittProductions / iStock via Getty Images

Arkansas
> Avg. composite score: 18.8 — 11th lowest
> Avg. English score: 18.3 — 17th lowest
> Avg. math score: 18.1 — 7th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 19.2 — 9th lowest
> Avg. science score: 19.1 — 12th lowest

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California
> Avg. composite score: 26.5 — 2nd highest
> Avg. English score: 26.9 — the highest
> Avg. math score: 25.6 — the highest
> Avg. reading score: 27.3 — the highest
> Avg. science score: 25.8 — the highest

Source: beklaus / E+ via Getty Images

Colorado
> Avg. composite score: 23.2 — 17th highest
> Avg. English score: 23.0 — 17th highest
> Avg. math score: 22.4 — 17th highest
> Avg. reading score: 24.0 — 18th highest
> Avg. science score: 23.0 — 17th highest

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Connecticut
> Avg. composite score: 26.3 — 3rd highest
> Avg. English score: 26.8 — 2nd highest
> Avg. math score: 25.3 — 3rd highest
> Avg. reading score: 27.1 — 3rd highest
> Avg. science score: 25.7 — 3rd highest

Source: gregobagel / iStock via Getty Images

Delaware
> Avg. composite score: 24.9 — 8th highest
> Avg. English score: 25.3 — 5th highest
> Avg. math score: 23.6 — 12th highest
> Avg. reading score: 26.1 — 7th highest
> Avg. science score: 24.3 — 8th highest

Source: Courtesy of FIU College of Law

Florida
> Avg. composite score: 19.0 — 13th lowest
> Avg. English score: 18.5 — 18th lowest
> Avg. math score: 18.4 — 8th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 20.0 — 17th lowest
> Avg. science score: 18.8 — 9th lowest

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Source: wellesenterprises / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Georgia
> Avg. composite score: 21.6 — 21st highest
> Avg. English score: 21.0 — 21st highest
> Avg. math score: 20.8 — 22nd highest
> Avg. reading score: 22.5 — 21st highest
> Avg. science score: 21.5 — 23rd highest

Source: mizoula / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Hawaii
> Avg. composite score: 18.8 — 10th lowest
> Avg. English score: 17.6 — 7th lowest
> Avg. math score: 18.6 — 12th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 19.4 — 10th lowest
> Avg. science score: 19.1 — 12th lowest

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Source: benedek / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

Idaho
> Avg. composite score: 22.8 — 19th highest
> Avg. English score: 22.3 — 19th highest
> Avg. math score: 22.2 — 19th highest
> Avg. reading score: 23.7 — 19th highest
> Avg. science score: 22.6 — 19th highest

Source: leightrail / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Illinois
> Avg. composite score: 24.5 — 13th highest
> Avg. English score: 24.8 — 10th highest
> Avg. math score: 23.7 — 9th highest
> Avg. reading score: 25.2 — 12th highest
> Avg. science score: 24.0 — 12th highest

Source: Susan Vineyard / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Indiana
> Avg. composite score: 22.8 — 20th highest
> Avg. English score: 22.1 — 20th highest
> Avg. math score: 22.5 — 16th highest
> Avg. reading score: 23.7 — 19th highest
> Avg. science score: 22.5 — 20th highest

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Source: dosecreative / iStock via Getty Images

Iowa
> Avg. composite score: 21.4 — 23rd highest
> Avg. English score: 20.4 — 23rd highest
> Avg. math score: 20.6 — 24th highest
> Avg. reading score: 22.3 — 22nd highest
> Avg. science score: 21.6 — 22nd highest

Source: Andy Lyons / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

Kansas
> Avg. composite score: 19.9 — 23rd lowest
> Avg. English score: 18.9 — 23rd lowest
> Avg. math score: 19.4 — 23rd lowest
> Avg. reading score: 20.6 — 22nd lowest
> Avg. science score: 20.1 — 22nd lowest

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Source: alexeys / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Kentucky
> Avg. composite score: 18.6 — 8th lowest
> Avg. English score: 17.8 — 10th lowest
> Avg. math score: 18.0 — 5th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 19.2 — 9th lowest
> Avg. science score: 18.7 — 7th lowest

Source: Roberto Michel / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Louisiana
> Avg. composite score: 18.1 — 5th lowest
> Avg. English score: 17.6 — 9th lowest
> Avg. math score: 17.4 — 4th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 18.6 — 4th lowest
> Avg. science score: 18.3 — 4th lowest

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

Maine
> Avg. composite score: 25.1 — 7th highest
> Avg. English score: 25.2 — 7th highest
> Avg. math score: 23.7 — 9th highest
> Avg. reading score: 26.2 — 5th highest
> Avg. science score: 24.6 — 7th highest

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Source: UmerPK / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Maryland
> Avg. composite score: 24.4 — 14th highest
> Avg. English score: 24.6 — 12th highest
> Avg. math score: 23.0 — 15th highest
> Avg. reading score: 25.4 — 11th highest
> Avg. science score: 23.9 — 15th highest

Source: stu99 / iStock via Getty Images

Massachusetts
> Avg. composite score: 26.5 — the highest
> Avg. English score: 26.6 — 3rd highest
> Avg. math score: 25.6 — the highest
> Avg. reading score: 27.3 — the highest
> Avg. science score: 25.8 — the highest

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Source: uschools / E+ via Getty Images

Michigan
> Avg. composite score: 24.6 — 11th highest
> Avg. English score: 24.7 — 11th highest
> Avg. math score: 23.9 — 7th highest
> Avg. reading score: 25.2 — 12th highest
> Avg. science score: 24.2 — 11th highest

Source: Cynthia Shirk / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Minnesota
> Avg. composite score: 21.0 — 24th highest
> Avg. English score: 19.7 — 25th highest
> Avg. math score: 20.7 — 23rd highest
> Avg. reading score: 21.7 — 24th highest
> Avg. science score: 21.4 — 24th highest

Source: CRobertson / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Mississippi
> Avg. composite score: 17.8 — 2nd lowest
> Avg. English score: 17.2 — 5th lowest
> Avg. math score: 17.4 — 3rd lowest
> Avg. reading score: 18.2 — 2nd lowest
> Avg. science score: 18.0 — 2nd lowest

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Missouri
> Avg. composite score: 20.2 — 25th lowest
> Avg. English score: 19.5 — 26th lowest
> Avg. math score: 19.5 — 25th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 21.0 — 24th lowest
> Avg. science score: 20.4 — 25th highest

Source: Solidago / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

Montana
> Avg. composite score: 19.3 — 16th lowest
> Avg. English score: 18.0 — 12th lowest
> Avg. math score: 19.0 — 14th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 20.1 — 18th lowest
> Avg. science score: 19.5 — 14th lowest

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Source: Chainarong Prasertthai / iStock via Getty Images

National
> Avg. composite score: 19.8 — 20th lowest
> Avg. English score: 19.0 — 24th lowest
> Avg. math score: 19.3 — 20th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 20.4 — 20th lowest
> Avg. science score: 19.9 — 20th lowest

Source: RiverNorthPhotography / iStock via Getty Images

Nebraska
> Avg. composite score: 19.4 — 19th lowest
> Avg. English score: 18.6 — 20th lowest
> Avg. math score: 19.1 — 17th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 19.8 — 14th lowest
> Avg. science score: 19.6 — 16th lowest

Source: Courtesy of Nevada State College

Nevada
> Avg. composite score: 17.3 — the lowest
> Avg. English score: 16.1 — the lowest
> Avg. math score: 17.1 — the lowest
> Avg. reading score: 17.8 — the lowest
> Avg. science score: 17.6 — the lowest

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Source: kickstand / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

New Hampshire
> Avg. composite score: 25.7 — 4th highest
> Avg. English score: 25.7 — 4th highest
> Avg. math score: 25.0 — 4th highest
> Avg. reading score: 26.5 — 4th highest
> Avg. science score: 25.2 — 4th highest

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

New Jersey
> Avg. composite score: 24.6 — 9th highest
> Avg. English score: 24.9 — 9th highest
> Avg. math score: 23.9 — 7th highest
> Avg. reading score: 25.1 — 15th highest
> Avg. science score: 24.0 — 12th highest

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Source: Courtesy of UWC USA via Facebook

New Mexico
> Avg. composite score: 19.8 — 21st lowest
> Avg. English score: 18.7 — 22nd lowest
> Avg. math score: 19.1 — 17th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 20.9 — 23rd lowest
> Avg. science score: 20.1 — 22nd lowest

Source: Katie Dobies / iStock via Getty Images

New York
> Avg. composite score: 25.3 — 5th highest
> Avg. English score: 25.2 — 7th highest
> Avg. math score: 24.6 — 5th highest
> Avg. reading score: 26.0 — 8th highest
> Avg. science score: 25.0 — 5th highest

Source: warrenlemay / Flickr

North Carolina
> Avg. composite score: 18.5 — 7th lowest
> Avg. English score: 17.1 — 3rd lowest
> Avg. math score: 18.5 — 11th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 19.2 — 9th lowest
> Avg. science score: 18.8 — 9th lowest

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Source: Courtesy of Trinity Bible College and Graduate School

North Dakota
> Avg. composite score: 19.2 — 14th lowest
> Avg. English score: 17.9 — 12th lowest
> Avg. math score: 19.1 — 17th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 19.7 — 13th lowest
> Avg. science score: 19.6 — 16th lowest

Source: CRobertson / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Ohio
> Avg. composite score: 19.4 — 17th lowest
> Avg. English score: 18.2 — 16th lowest
> Avg. math score: 19.2 — 18th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 20.0 — 17th lowest
> Avg. science score: 19.7 — 17th lowest

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Source: JTGrafix / iStock via Getty Images

Oklahoma
> Avg. composite score: 17.9 — 3rd lowest
> Avg. English score: 17.0 — 2nd lowest
> Avg. math score: 17.3 — 2nd lowest
> Avg. reading score: 18.6 — 4th lowest
> Avg. science score: 18.2 — 3rd lowest

Oregon
> Avg. composite score: 23.0 — 18th highest
> Avg. English score: 22.5 — 18th highest
> Avg. math score: 22.0 — 20th highest
> Avg. reading score: 24.2 — 17th highest
> Avg. science score: 22.8 — 18th highest

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images

Pennsylvania
> Avg. composite score: 24.4 — 15th highest
> Avg. English score: 24.3 — 14th highest
> Avg. math score: 23.7 — 9th highest
> Avg. reading score: 25.2 — 12th highest
> Avg. science score: 24.0 — 12th highest

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

Rhode Island
> Avg. composite score: 25.2 — 6th highest
> Avg. English score: 25.3 — 5th highest
> Avg. math score: 24.0 — 6th highest
> Avg. reading score: 26.2 — 5th highest
> Avg. science score: 24.7 — 6th highest

Source: BSPollard / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

South Carolina
> Avg. composite score: 18.9 — 12th lowest
> Avg. English score: 17.8 — 9th lowest
> Avg. math score: 18.5 — 11th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 19.6 — 11th lowest
> Avg. science score: 19.1 — 12th lowest

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Source: Wolterk / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

South Dakota
> Avg. composite score: 21.5 — 22nd highest
> Avg. English score: 20.5 — 22nd highest
> Avg. math score: 21.2 — 21st highest
> Avg. reading score: 22.2 — 23rd highest
> Avg. science score: 21.7 — 21st highest

Source: sframephoto / iStock via Getty Images

Tennessee
> Avg. composite score: 18.6 — 9th lowest
> Avg. English score: 18.0 — 13th lowest
> Avg. math score: 18.1 — 7th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 19.0 — 6th lowest
> Avg. science score: 18.6 — 6th lowest

Source: dszc / E+ via Getty Images

Texas
> Avg. composite score: 19.8 — 22nd lowest
> Avg. English score: 18.7 — 20th lowest
> Avg. math score: 19.5 — 25th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 20.4 — 20th lowest
> Avg. science score: 19.9 — 20th lowest

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Source: Ladanifer / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Utah
> Avg. composite score: 19.9 — 24th lowest
> Avg. English score: 18.9 — 22nd lowest
> Avg. math score: 19.4 — 23rd lowest
> Avg. reading score: 20.6 — 22nd lowest
> Avg. science score: 20.2 — 23rd lowest

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

Vermont
> Avg. composite score: 23.7 — 16th highest
> Avg. English score: 23.4 — 16th highest
> Avg. math score: 22.4 — 17th highest
> Avg. reading score: 25.0 — 16th highest
> Avg. science score: 23.5 — 16th highest

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Source: QizhangJia / iStock via Getty Images

Virginia
> Avg. composite score: 24.6 — 10th highest
> Avg. English score: 24.6 — 12th highest
> Avg. math score: 23.5 — 14th highest
> Avg. reading score: 25.7 — 9th highest
> Avg. science score: 24.3 — 8th highest

Source: gregobagel / iStock via Getty Images

Washington
> Avg. composite score: 24.6 — 12th highest
> Avg. English score: 24.3 — 14th highest
> Avg. math score: 23.6 — 12th highest
> Avg. reading score: 25.6 — 10th highest
> Avg. science score: 24.3 — 8th highest

Source: BackyardProduction / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

West Virginia
> Avg. composite score: 20.5 — 25th highest
> Avg. English score: 20.2 — 24th highest
> Avg. math score: 19.4 — 23rd lowest
> Avg. reading score: 21.4 — 25th highest
> Avg. science score: 20.4 — 25th highest

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Source: JamesBrey / Getty Images

Wisconsin
> Avg. composite score: 19.4 — 18th lowest
> Avg. English score: 18.3 — 16th lowest
> Avg. math score: 19.3 — 20th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 19.7 — 13th lowest
> Avg. science score: 19.8 — 18th lowest

Source: CRobertson / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Wyoming
> Avg. composite score: 19.2 — 15th lowest
> Avg. English score: 18.1 — 14th lowest
> Avg. math score: 18.9 — 13th lowest
> Avg. reading score: 20.0 — 17th lowest
> Avg. science score: 19.5 — 14th lowest

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