The ACT is a nonprofit organization that publishes the ACT test, taken annually by over 1.6 million high school students. The ACT college readiness assessment is a tool to help assess a student's readiness for college-level coursework. The ACT measures English, mathematics and reading science in a multiple-choice format, with an optional writing test that measures writing skills for entry-level college composition courses. For students wanting admission to the college of their choice, the ACT is a high-stakes test.

National and Other Averages

Nationally, in 2013, the average ACT composite score was 20.9 with a maximum score of 36. The average national scores were 20.2 for English, 20.9 for mathematics, 21.1 for reading and 20.7 for science, with 54 percent of all high school graduates tested. State average composite scores ranged from 18.7 to 24.1. Minority and first-generation students -- the first in their families to attend college -- showed mixed results compared to the national benchmark composite average of 26 percent. Nine percent of first-generation students met all four ACT benchmarks for college readiness, 10 percent of Native American students met the readiness benchmarks, 5 percent of African-American students met the benchmark, 14 percent of Hispanic students met the benchmarks, 19 percent of Pacific Islander students met the benchmark and 43 percent of Asian students met the benchmark. According to ACT reports, scores help answer questions about core high school courses and the rigors of coursework, and pose questions about tracking other dimensions of college and career readiness, such as aspirations and educational planning.