ST. LOUIS – Scores on the ACT college admissions tests hit their lowest point in more than 30 years, according to a public report released Wednesday.

The report finds, despite the nationwide drop, the standardized test scores among Missouri and Illinois students from the high school class of 2022 are above average. Illinois averaged a 24.5 composite score and Missouri had a 20.2 composite score in comparison to the nation’s 19.8 average. The highest possible ACT score is a 36.

When broken down into the four main categories tested…

  • English: Missouri (19.5), Illinois (24.8)
  • Math: Missouri (19.5), Illinois (23.7)
  • Reading: Missouri (21), Illinois (25.2)
  • Science: Missouri (20.4), Illinois (24)

With the average class of 2022’s average ACT composite score at 19.8, it marked the first time since 1991 that the average score was below 20. Some top eductors and officials believe the pandemic might have led to such setbacks.

“Academic preparedness is where we are seeing the decline,” said Rose Babington, senior director for state partnerships for the ACT, told the Associated Press. “Every time we see ACT test scores, we are talking about skills and standards, and the prediction of students to be successful and to know the really important information to succeed and persist through their first year of college courses.”

The data, to some extent, isn’t quite the fullest. The report measured only 100% of scores from test-takers in six states. Less than 10 percent of test scores were measured in 14 states.

The report also revealed an estimated 36 percent of graduates nationwide took the ACT, 35% of test takers took the test more than once and only around 22% of test takers met all four ACT college readiness benchmark scores. The benchmarks are 18 for English, 22 for math and reading and 23 for science.