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Georgia students again increase score, beat national average on ACT

School-Level Scores | District-Level Scores

October 13, 2021 – 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.

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.

 NationalGeorgia2020 to 2021 State Increase

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 2020National 2021Georgia 2020Georgia 2021
% met benchmarks in English58566772
% met benchmarks in Mathematics37364350
% met benchmarks in Reading45445258
% met benchmarks in Science36354148
% met all four benchmarks26253036


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.​