Quick Takes

Kentucky’s high school class of 2023 slightly improves average ACT score

By: - October 11, 2023 6:36 pm

(Photo by Dan Forer/GettyImages)

Kentucky students in the class of 2023 improved the state’s overall average ACT score by 0.1, the Kentucky Department of Education announced Wednesday. 

A department news release said Kentucky students achieved an  average composite score of 18.7 on the college entrance exam. The average composite score in 2022 was 18.6. This year, 54 students across the state earned a perfect score of 36. 

Chart provided by the Kentucky Department of Education

KDE also said 100% of the 2023 graduating class took the exam, or 50,429 students, a 4.5% increase from 2022. 

According to data provided by KDE, the 2023 score is below the state average composite score from five years ago. In 2019, the average composite score was 19.8. 

The ACT tests students in English, reading, math and science. A student’s composite score is the average of their scores in each subject area. 

For its efforts to expand testing, KDE was recognized by ACT, the nonprofit organization that administers the college readiness exam, with its 2023 Equity and Access Award. These steps included the department offering a free retake day for the class of 2023 during the fall of their senior year and 1,000 students taking the ACT for the first time in fall 2022. These students were more likely to identify as African American or Hispanic compared to all who took the test. 

Kentucky requires all high school juniors to take the ACT. The testing window will be offered again this fall. 

Interim Education Commissioner Robin Fields Kinney, who was appointed to her role by the Kentucky Board of Education last month, said in a statement that Kentucky “has achieved a rare feat” in increasing ACT scores over the previous year and expanding the number of students who take the ACT. 

“The hard work of our students and educators shows up in many ways, and it’s important to celebrate accomplishments like this when we earn them,” she said. 

Eight states across the country tested 100% of their graduates. Kentucky’s average composite score of 18.7, ranked it second among the eight states, behind Wyoming, which had an average composite score of 19. Wyoming also has 87% fewer students tested than Kentucky, KDE said. 

Chart provided by the Kentucky Department of Education.


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McKenna Horsley
McKenna Horsley

McKenna Horsley covers state politics for the Kentucky Lantern. She previously worked for newspapers in Huntington, West Virginia, and Frankfort, Kentucky. She is from northeastern Kentucky.