ACT hits 30 year low

Chloe McAleer, Reporter

2022 ACT scores dropped to a thirty-year low with a national average at 19.8 points. The last time scores fell below 20.0 points was in 1991.

According to, only 36% of students from the graduating class of 2022 took the ACT nationally. Of the graduating 2022 students; 42% met none of the college readiness guidelines, 32% met three out of four college readiness guidelines, and 22% met all four of the college readiness guidelines.

The college readiness benchmarks are 19.0 for English, 22.0 for Reading, 22.0 for Math, and 23.0 for Science. 

According to the Nebraska Department of Education, 94% of high school graduates took the ACT in Nebraska. Nebraska’s high school graduates scored significantly higher compared to 14 other states that tested over 90% of graduates. Nebraska’s composite 2022 ACT score is 19.4 with only Utah scoring higher at 19.9.

Though Nebraska’s composite scores dropped from 20.0 to 19.4 since 2021, the Nebraska Department of Education credits this drop to an increase in the percentage of high school graduates tested; 86% in 2021 to 94% in 2022.

At Bellevue West, 9th grade Assistant Principal Mary Sasek said that students’ scores have dropped slightly, but haven’t been a cause for worry. 

Moreover, she said that the drop in average ACT scores may be an effect of the pandemic since colleges stopped requiring a score to apply. 

“I think a big piece of that has to do with the fact that when we adopted the ACT as our state assessment, we did that because we knew that a lot of students use that score when they apply for colleges,” Sasek said. “And since the pandemic, many colleges have stopped requiring an entrance exam score, like an ACT or a SAT, so there is less of a motivation for some students to really try to do well on that.”

According to Sasek, Bellevue West is still working to make sure that students are prepared for college or the workforce, despite a dip in scores.

“I think we do a good job of trying to work with each individual student to help them figure out what they want, and then create a plan for them after high school so that they can be successful,” Sasek said.

Sasek also said that Bellevue West is facing a dilemma on how to motivate students to perform well on the test as some students don’t need the ACT if they choose to apply to a trade school. Still, Sasek said she wants students to take the test seriously, but she doesn’t want students to view it as the end all be all.

“It is one factor that the state looks at, to see how we do at preparing our students for post secondary education, but I know that our teachers and our students are dedicated to their success and they do a lot within their classes to prepare for, for graduation, and beyond as far as even just getting involved in being well rounded people,” Sasek said.