In a year when many test dates were postponed or canceled due to the global pandemic, more than 1.6 million members of the 2020 graduate class of high school seniors took the ACT college entrance examination.
The average score on the ACT dropped to 20.6 on a scale of 1 to 36. This was the lowest average score in a decade. For the third year in a row, the average score for African American students dropped. This year, the average score was 16.7. The average score for Whites also dropped to 22.0.
Based on score results, the American College Testing organization calculates the percentage of students who took the ACT test who are adequately prepared to take on a college-level curriculum. In 2020, 30 percent of Black test takers were rated ready for college-level courses in English, compared to 69 percent of Whites. In mathematics, only 12 percent of Blacks were rated college-ready compared to 46 percent of Whites. In science, ACT data shows 12 percent of Blacks were ready for college-level courses compared to 45 percent of Whites. In reading, 19 percent of Blacks achieved the minimal benchmark for college readiness compared to 54 percent of Whites.
The most striking statistic is that only 4 percent of all Black test takers were rated ready for college-level courses in all four areas of English, mathematics, science, and reading. Whites were more than six times as likely as Blacks to be prepared for college-level work in all four areas.