Alabama ACT scores lower than the national average

Disturbing trends indicate many high school graduates are just not ready for college. New 2013 ACT test scores show the average composite score on the college entrance exam fell from 2012.

On a test where 36 is a perfect score, the composite score dropped to 20.9 from 21.1 last year. And nearly one-third of the test takers did not meet any of the college-readiness benchmarks in English, reading, science, and math.

The state's composite score is 20.2; more than half a percentage point below the national average.

It is important to note that the ACT president says this state's results were impacted by the change in the pool of test takers. More students, including those who have no plans for college, may have contributed to a lower score.

But the bottom line is any student who isn't ready to go to college will spend valuable time and money in college remedial courses.

Here are the average scores for Alabama students broken down by subject:

English - 20.2

Math - 19.4

Reading 20.7

Science - 20.0

The ACT defines college and career readiness as the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in college. That is determined by the minimum score needed on the ACT that would indicate a student could make a B or better in a college course.

In Alabama, just 18 percent of students are considered college ready in English, algebra, biology, and social science. The national average is 26 percent.