Nov 6, 2023 - News

Ohio's ACT scores are on the decline

Data: ACT; Chart: Axios Visuals

Ohio's graduating seniors performed worse on the ACT college admissions exam than their counterparts from a decade ago, according to data from the nonprofit that administers the test.

Why it matters: An increasing number of graduates across the country do not meet the ACT's college readiness benchmarks, Axios' April Rubin writes.

The big picture: Nationwide, the class of 2023 had the worst ACT performance in more than three decades.

  • The average composite score, representing the English, math, reading and science sections, was 19.5 out of 36.

Zoom in: Ohio's average composite score was 22 in 2014, but dropped to 19.2 with this year's class.

  • Our graduates have had a lower score than the national average since 2018.

Between the lines: This is likely another indicator of COVID-19's impact on education.

  • The most recent graduating class was in its first year of high school when the pandemic began.

What they're saying: "The hard truth is that we are not doing enough to ensure that graduates are truly ready for postsecondary success in college and career," ACT CEO Janet Godwin said in a statement.

The intrigue: While other states have seen their shares of students taking the test drop in recent years, Ohio's test-taking figures have gone up.

  • Just 72% of our graduating students took the ACT in 2014 compared to 82% this year.

State of play: Scores are declining as more and more universities are deemphasizing the test's importance for admissions.

  • Many area universities, like Otterbein, Capital and Ohio Wesleyan, have enacted "test optional" admissions policies, meaning would-be students are no longer required to submit ACT or SAT scores to be eligible for admission, scholarships or honors programs.
  • Ohio State recommends students submit test scores, noting it's optional but can provide "useful information and predictive value about a student's potential for success."

Yes, but: OSU notes the test results are just one piece of a "holistic" admissions process that considers class rank, GPA and extracurricular activities.

  • If applicable, the university also weighs overcoming adversity in high school or an applicant's status as a first-generation college student.
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