ACT Scores Continue To Fall Despite Billions In Federal Funding To Prevent Learning Loss

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Robert Schmad Contributor
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ACT scores fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2023, despite billions spent by the federal government to prevent learning loss, according to a report from ACT Inc., the nonprofit that administers the exam.

The average ACT score dropped 1.1 points from 20.6 in 2020 to 19.5 in 2023, including a drop of 0.3 points in the last year, according to ACT Inc.’s report. During the 2022-2023 school year, 43% of students met none of the benchmarks for college readiness for any academic subject.

The ACT is a college entrance exam that was taken by 1.38 million students this year, according to the report. Scores on the test range from 1 to 36. (RELATED: Student’s US History, Civics Scores Plummet Following School Lockdowns)

The average score was below the benchmark for college readiness identified by the testing organization in every subject except English, where scores were still down from last year.

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U.S. public school students lost the equivalent of approximately half a year of math education and a quarter of year of reading during the pandemic, according to a research brief released in May.

ACT CEO Janet Godwin identified “decreased access to school counselors, canceled extracurricular activities, and an overnight pivot to remote learning” as factors contributing to student difficulties in a June press release from her organization.

Schools and other public education agencies received $190.5 billion in COVID-19 relief funding from Congress beginning in 2020, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. School districts that received federal assistance were expected to spend at least 20% of the resources on addressing learning loss.

ACT Inc. did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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