Louisiana's class of 2019 had an average composite ACT score of 18.9 - the lowest average score since the state started requiring all students to take the exam in 2013.
The ACT is a national standardized test that colleges and universities use in making admissions decisions. Louisiana requires most students to take the exam in their junior year of high school. The test is graded out of 36 points. The minimum score schools will accept varies, but generally, small local colleges usually require at least an 18 to get in. More selective schools require something around a 22. Elite or Ivy-League institutions like to see a score over 30. The national average for 2019 is a 20.7.
The ACT says the score helps schools predict how ready students are for college or career. By that logic, Louisiana's class of 2019 may be the least prepared in years. In the chart below, you can see how Louisiana and district scores compare to the national average over time.
The ACT tests students skills in English, reading, math and science. The ACT has "benchmarks" for how high students have to score in each area to be "career or college-ready." The ACT's latest report shows the share of Louisiana students meeting the mark is slipping in each subject. For the class of 2019, just 14 percent of students met the mark in all four subjects.
Asked for comment on the latest ACT results, Louisiana State Superintendent John White sent an emailed statement pointing to progress the state made in 8th grade math on another national standardized test, the "Nation's Report Card," or NAEP.
“While the nation’s report card shows Louisiana tops the nation in 8th grade math progress, it’s important that we look at other indicators of our challenges," he said.