The streak continues: Georgia students top national average on ACT

Georgia students are now on a five-year streak of beating the national average on their ACT scores.

Georgia’s class of 2020 continued a now-half-decade trend of outpacing the nation on the ACT, with the state’s average score increasing as the national average dropped.

Georgia’s average composite score for the class of 2020 was 21.7, up from the 2019 score of 21.4 in 2019 and higher, for the fifth year in a row, than the national average of 20.6. The national average dropped from 20.7 in 2019 to 20.6 in 2020.


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

 NationalGeorgia2019 to 2020 State Increase
English19.921.3+.04
Mathematics20.221.0+.03
Reading21.222.5+.03
Science20.621.6+.04
Composite20.621.7+.03

“I am always glad to see Georgia students succeeding, but there’s something special about the class of 2020’s accomplishments,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “These students, who saw their senior year come to an abrupt halt due to a global pandemic, have now outscored their peers across the nation on both the SAT and ACT. To say I’m proud of them would be an understatement.”  

The percentage of Georgia students in the class of 2020 meeting all four of ACT’s College Readiness benchmarks – 30 percent – was also higher than the national average of 26 percent, and increased in all subject areas.

 National 2019National 2020Georgia 2019Georgia 2020
% met benchmarks in English59586567
% met benchmarks in Mathematics39374043
% met benchmarks in Reading45455052
% met benchmarks in Science36363941
% met all four benchmarks26262830

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.

Georgia’s 2020 ACT scores also brought positive news in the area of equity, as the state’s Black and Hispanic/Latino students outscored their peers across the nation. Black/African American students had an average composite score of 18.2, compared to the national average of 16.7. Hispanic/Latino students had an average composite score of 20.9, compared to the national average of 18.5.

All scores are based on 2020 high school graduates who took the ACT at some time from grades 10 to 12.

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