News Release

October 11, 2023

Nebraska Students Continue Score High Compared to Peer States on Act

Nebraska achievement levels remained on pace with the nation amidst small declines nationally on the ACT entrance exam that measures college readiness in English, reading, mathematics, and science.

All Nebraska public school juniors are required to take the ACT as part of the Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System (NSCAS), and after a decline in participation due to COVID, there was an increase in the number of students taking the test. Nebraska had 96 percent of public school graduates participate in the ACT.

Nebraska’s average 2023 ACT composite score is 19.2, down from 19.4 in 2022. The national average is also down three tenths of a point from 19.8 to 19.5 and only 37 percent of students take the ACT nationwide. While there were still declines this year, they are not as steep as they have been since the pandemic. The highest possible ACT score is 36.

Nebraska continues to score well compared to the 15 states with more than 90 percent of graduates taking the ACT. Only Utah at 19.9 and Wisconsin at 19.4 scored better. This is significant as states that test a high percentage of graduates tend to have lower averages as the scores include more students who are not on a college course-taking track.

Nebraska students scored an average of 18.3 in English compared to 18.6 nationally. In reading, Nebraska students scored an average of 19.5 compared to 20.1 nationally.  In math, Nebraska students scored an average of 18.9 compared to 19.0 nationally. And in science Nebraska students scored an average of 19.4 compared to 19.6 nationally.

The national and state ACT press release and reports can be viewed and downloaded on the ACT website at:

David Jespersen
Public Information Officer, Nebraska Department of Education