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Latest ACT Data Shows Arizona Students Fall Below State Universities’ Standards

October 17, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

According to the latest ACT scoring data, the average Arizona student doesn’t achieve an ACT score recommended as a minimum by Arizona State University (ASU), Northern Arizona University (NAU), and the University of Arizona (UArizona). 

On Tuesday, the ACT organization announced that the national average score for its eponymous college admissions test was the lowest it’s been in over 30 years: 19.8. However, Arizona fared worse: 18.3. The state’s students, on average, also fell below the ACT’s college readiness benchmarks.

If students go by their ACT scores, ASU requires first-year in-state applicants to have scored at least a 22 overall, while out-of-state applicants must score a 24. Both NAU and UArizona require freshmen applicants to score at least a 21 in English, 24 in math, and 20 in science.

All three universities present the ACT score as one of several possible criteria for admission, offering SAT scores, GPAs, and even certain courses taken as alternatives. During the pandemic, the three state universities made the SAT/ACT optional.

READ THE ACT’S NATIONAL REPORT

The organization noted in its state-by-state breakdown of data that the most accurate way to compare composite scores would be to compare the averages of states sharing similar percentages of graduates tested. 

Even within that context, Arizona fared poorly according to the 64 percent of student scores available for review. The state with the next-highest percentage of graduates tested, Missouri (66 percent), boasted a composite score of 20.12. The state with the next-lowest percentage of graduates tested, South Dakota (58 percent), boasted a composite score of 21.42. 

In a press release, ACT CEO Janet Godwin explained that this year of poor performance was the fifth consecutive year of decline: a “worrisome trend.” Godwin noted “longtime systemic failures” in the educational system, predating the pandemic, brought the nation’s students to this point. 

“A return to the pre-pandemic status quo would be insufficient and a disservice to students and educators,” stated Godwin. “These systemic failures require sustained collective action and support for the academic recovery of high school students as an urgent national priority and imperative.”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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