Gender Differences in Test Scores on the ACT College Entrance Examination

The American College Testing Program recently released the results for 2020 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 20.8. For men, the average score was 20.5. While the average scores have been declining, the small gender gap in test scores has remained relatively constant over the past decade with only minor fluctuations. But women have been showing more improvement relative to men in recent years.

Women held an edge on the English part of the test with an average score of 20.5 compared to a 19.3 average score for men. Women also held an edge in reading scores with an average score of 21.6 compared to 20.8 for men. In mathematics, men had an average score of 20.6 compared to an average score of 20.0 for women. In science, the average score for men was 20.7 compared to an average score for women of 20.5.

Some 62 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 54 percent of men reached the college-readiness benchmark in English. In contrast, 40 percent of men were deemed ready for college-level mathematics, compared to 36 percent of women who took the ACT. Women held a 47 to 42 edge in reading but men had a 38 to 35 advantage in science.

Some 27 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.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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