ACT scores fall for Georgia’s class of 2022

With an average score of 21.6 points on the ACT, Georgia’s class of 2022 managed to beat the national average by nearly 2 points. (Travis Dove/The New York Times)



With an average score of 21.6 points on the ACT, Georgia’s class of 2022 managed to beat the national average by nearly 2 points. (Travis Dove/The New York Times)

Georgia’s class of 2022 produced ACT scores that, on average, were a full point lower than their peers the year before as the number of test takers rose.

With an average composite score of 21.6 points, Georgia’s seniors did manage to beat the national average by nearly 2 points, the testing organization reported Wednesday.

The number of Georgia students tested rose in 2022 after years of decline that accelerated during the height of the pandemic. More than 35,000 students in the class of 2022 took ACTs compared with just over 29,000 in 2021 and nearly 46,000 in 2020.

The national scores have continued a downward trend that started well before the COVID-19 pandemic, falling to 19.8 points. It was the lowest score in more than three decades, falling below 20 for the first time since 1991.

“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,” ACT said in a statement in reference to the minimum score required for a higher probability of success in freshman for-credit classes. “They are further evidence of longtime systemic failures that were exacerbated by the pandemic.”

ACT called for “sustained collective action” to help high school students, calling it “an urgent national priority and imperative.”

Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods, though, touted Georgia’s score.

“I am very proud of the class of 2022, along with the hard-working teachers who worked to open up opportunities for them,” he said in a statement.

Georgia’s class of 2021 score was 22.6 points, a full point higher than the class of 2022′s. The class of 2020 scored 21.7 points, a tenth of a point higher than the class of 2022.

Georgia has beat the national average for six years running. But many of last semester’s graduates may face a significant challenge in college this year: The percentage whose scores met college-readiness benchmarks in English, math, reading and science fell 6 points to 30%. The steepest decline was in math: Half of Georgia’s test takers met the readiness benchmarks in 2021 but only 41% of the class of 2022 did.

Georgia’s overall readiness in 2022 was on a par with the state’s class of 2020, though, and 8 percentage points ahead of the 2022 national average.

School district-level results were not available, though Marietta City Schools released its own scores. The average fell a tenth of a point, but the score of 22.9 still bested the state average by 1.3 points.

Georgia’s SAT scores also fell, the College Board reported last month. The average statewide score was 1052, down 25 points from 1077 in 2021. It was a drop of 2% but a modest gain over the performance in 2020, the year the pandemic started.