Oct 13, 2021

State's average ACT Composite score dips slightly to 18.4

BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana’s Class of 2021 earned an average ACT Composite score of 18.4, down from 18.7 in 2020 and 18.8 in 2019.

"Our students have faced extraordinary challenges over the last two school years,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. "More than ever, we must empower Louisiana students with the necessary resources and opportunities to assist them in reaching their full academic potential."

The ACT, used for college admissions consideration and TOPS scholarship eligibility, was adopted as a measure of college and career readiness in Louisiana in 2013. Since that time, the performance of Louisiana students on the ACT has informed policy. The state has noted a continuing decline in student performance on the ACT. An issue which has surfaced as a result of this trend is the question of the degree of alignment of the ACT with Louisiana Student Standards.

In response, The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) has commissioned LSU to conduct a study of the alignment between the ACT College and Career Readiness Standards and the Louisiana Student Standards. Ultimately, a report will be produced to inform future decision-making around what further supports are needed by educators and students to best prepare students for ACT success.

50,101 students in the Louisiana Class of 2021 took the ACT – an estimated 98% of the graduating class. LDOE has invested Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds in various programs, such as Louisiana ACT® Now and The Louisiana Pre-ACT® Initiatives, to help sustain and grow Louisiana’s ACT participation rate. For more information on these programs, please visit LDOE’s website. 

“Persistence from the Louisiana education community around participation in ACT testing, encouraging students to take the test multiple times and requesting and using fee waivers to improve testing affordability for students resulted in some notable achievements for our state despite the COVID disruption,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Kim Hunter Reed. “While significant improvements are necessary, we see that the emergency policies and practices embraced by educators, legislators and Governor John Bel Edwards paid dividends, giving students more opportunities to succeed in college. However, today, the race, background and zip code of our students tell us too much about their likelihood of success and we must change that.  Improving minority student performance as it relates to college readiness benchmarks must be a priority in order to expand prosperity in our state.” 

Louisiana calculates its ACT data using the "best score" calculation used by colleges and for school letter grades. ACT calculates Louisiana's average score for all public and private school students anticipating graduation that year using a student's "most recent score."  The Board of Regents and BESE have a joint goal that, beginning with the freshman class of 2025, all Louisiana public high school graduates will complete high school with college credit (academic and/or career-technical), a postsecondary credential of value, or both.