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Average National ACT Scores for 2012

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Average National ACT Scores for 2012

ACT Score Frequently Asked Questions

In 2012, 52% of you high school graduates registered for and took the ACT test at least one time during their sophomore, junior or senior year. That's a lot of you – over a million! And now, I'm betting you'd like to know what kinds of scores everyone earned now that you've joined the ranks as past ACT test-takers, right? Right. Below, you'll read the statistics for the average national ACT scores for 2012 along with scores according to gender, ethnicity, and intended college major.

If you'd like to take it a step further, then check out the average ACT scores for the top private schools by region and the top public schools by region, too.

21 Strategies to Improve Your ACT Scores

Overall ACT Scores for 2012

Remember the math term, "mean"? Of course you do! It's just the average of a set of numbers. In this case, the mean is the average score of every student who took the ACT from the fall of 2011 through June of 2012. Remember the scoring: a top score in each multiple-choice category is a 36. A top score in Writing is a 12. To get the composite score, the scores from each test section are averaged.

Here are the mean ACT scores for all testers by section:

  • Composite: 21.1
  • English: 20.5
  • Mathematics: 21.1
  • Science Reasoning: 20.9
  • Reading: 21.3
  • Writing: 7.1

ACT Score Percentiles

Are you a bit confused by the whole "score percentile" thing? Don't be. It's easy! When you're looking at your score report, you should have a percentile listed next to your scores. It'll be a number followed by a percent sign – like 78%. That basically means that you scored higher than 78% of the test-takers for that particular portion of the exam. Still confused? Check out more score percentile explanations, here.

ACT Scores By Gender

There is a slight difference between the scores of male students and female students, but as a whole, the scores are virtually interchangeable. What does this prove? That the whole "Girls are smarter or boys are smarter" nonsense is just that: nonsense.

  • Composite: Boys: 21.2 Girls: 21.0
  • English: Boys: 20.2 Girls: 20.9
  • Mathematics: Boys: 21.7 Girls: 20.6
  • Reading: Boys: 21.2 Girls: 21.4
  • Science Reasoning: Boys: 21.4Girls: 20.5
  • Writing: Boys: 6.8 Girls: 7.2

ACT Scores By Ethnicity

The only scores reported by ethnicity are those for English and Writing. For the following report, over 1 million students provided their ethnicities, although many students declined to give their ethnicity on the exam, which is certainly an option. Here are the statistics as reported by the ACT:

  • American Indian/Alaska Native: English: 17.8 Writing: 6.5
  • Asian: English: 23.7 Writing: 7.6
  • Black/African American: English: 16.6Writing: 6.2
  • Hispanic/Latino English: 18.5 Writing: 6.8
  • Native Hawaiian/Other Pac. Isl: English: 19.9 Writing: 7.1
  • Two or more races: English: 21.9 Writing: 7.1
  • White/Caucasian: English: 23.2 Writing: 7.2

ACT Scores By Intended Major

These are interesting numbers. It appears as though students who earned higher scores on the ACT said they wanted to dive into traditionally difficult fields like medicine, English/foreign languages, computer science and engineering. Students who said they're going into fields like health administration, construction or family services, earned lower scores. Students report their intended major before taking the exam, so it makes a person wonder to what degree a student's confidence affects the score.

  • Agriculture and Natural Resources Conservation: 19.8
  • Architecture: 21.1
  • Area, Ethnic, and Multidisciplinary Studies: 22.3
  • Arts: Visual and Performing: 20.5
  • Business: 20.9
  • Communications: 21.5
  • Community, Family and Personal Services: 18.2
  • Computer Science and Mathematics: 22.4
  • Education: 20.6
  • Engineering: 23.5
  • Engineering Technology and Drafting: 20.0
  • English and Foreign Language: 23.9
  • Health Administration and Assisting: 18.0
  • Health Sciences and Technology: 21.0
  • Philosophy, Religion, and Theology: 21.9
  • Repair, Production and Construction: 17.4
  • Sciences, Biological and Physical: 23.7
  • Social Sciences and Law: 21.4
  • Undecided: 21.7
  • No Response: 17.5
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