Examining the Gender Scoring Gap on the ACT College Entrance Examination

actThe American College Testing Program recently released the results for 2016 high school graduating seniors who took the ACT college entrance examination. The ACT test is graded on a scale of 1 to 36. The average score for women who took the test was 20.9. This is identical to the composite score of men who took the test. The average scores and the gender gap in test scores have remained relatively constant over the past decade with only minor fluctuations.

Women held an edge on the English part of the test with an average score of 20.6 compared to a 19.8 average score for men. Women held an edge in reading scores, 21.6 to 21.0. In mathematics men had an average score of 21.0 compared to the average score for women of 20.3. In science, the average score for men was 21.1 compared to an average score for women of 20.6

Some 64 percent of all women ACT test takers were rated as achieving a benchmark score which demonstrated that they were ready for college-level English classes. Only 59 percent of men reached the college-readiness benchmark in English. In contrast, 44 percent of men were deemed ready for college-level mathematics, compared to 39 percent of women who took the ACT. Women held a four percentage point lead in college readiness over men in reading scores but men had an average score in science that was five percentage points higher than for women.

Some 28 percent of men who took the ACT test were deemed college ready in all four areas of English, mathematics, reading, and science. For women, 25 percent of all test takers were deemed college ready in all four areas.

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