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GA Dept of Ed: Georgia students again increase score, beat national average on ACT

For the fifth year in a row, Georgia students beat the national average on the ACT, with the state’s average score increasing even as the national average dropped.

Pro Roof GA

Georgia’s class of 2021 recorded an average composite score of 22.6, compared to the national average of 20.3. Georgia students’ average score increased – from 21.7 in 2020 – while the national average fell slightly, from 20.6 in 2020.

“Georgia’s students continue to achieve gains on the ACT and other national exams, and I am enormously proud of them,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Despite the impact of the pandemic, we have seen our students, teachers, and schools display great resilience and continue to work hard and succeed.”

Scores in each individual subject area increased and were higher than the national average.

National Georgia 2020 to 2021 State Increase
English 19.6 22.1 +0.8
Mathematics 19.9 21.9 +0.9
Reading 20.9 23.4 +0.9
Science 20.4 22.4 +0.8
Composite 20.3 22.6 +0.9

The percentage of Georgia students in the class of 2021 meeting all four of ACT’s College Readiness benchmarks – 36 percent – was also higher than the national average of 25 percent, and increased in all subject areas.

National 2020 National 2021 Georgia 2020 Georgia 2021
% met benchmarks in English 58 56 67 72
% met benchmarks in Mathematics 37 36 43 50
% met benchmarks in Reading 45 44 52 58
% met benchmarks in Science 36 35 41 48
% met all four benchmarks 26 25 30 36


College Readiness benchmarks are scores on the ACT subject-area tests that represent the level of achievement required for students to have a 50-percent chance of obtaining a B or higher, or about a 75-percent chance of obtaining a C or higher, in corresponding credit-bearing first-year college courses.

The number of students in the class of 2021 who took the ACT is down both nationally and in Georgia – from 45,913 in 2020 to 29,202 in 2021 in Georgia, and from 1,670,497 to 1,295,349 nationally. This is likely due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the temporary waiver of SAT/ACT score requirements for University System of Georgia admissions. While participation dropped, the demographics of participants remained stable in Georgia.

All scores are based on 2021 high school graduates who took the ACT at some time from grades 10 to 12.​

District Level ACT Summary 2021 ga doe
School Level ACT Summary 2021 Ga DOE

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