Iowa’s 2016 high school students had a 22.1 average ACT score, the highest composite score in the country. The national average was 20.8. Iowa had the highest in three of the four benchmark categories for college readiness, and with a 73% for college readiness in English, was one of only three states to score in the 70s for the English readiness.

The total number of test takers increased nationwide by 9% resulting in a composite score drop from a year ago (21 in 2015 to this year 20.8) and a college readiness benchmark drop. Nationally, 38% of the students from the Class of 2016 who took the test met its “college readiness” benchmarks which include English, math, reading and science. In 2015, 40% reached that threshold.

Iowa’s number one average composite score decreased from a year ago of 22.2. Last year Iowa was tied for 2nd with Wisconsin behind Minnesota with at least 60% of the students tested. Now, Wisconsin and Minnesota are one of 18 states that require all 11th graders to take the ACT test, and they fund public students to take the test.

According to ACT, declines in Hispanic and African American scores can also be attributed to an ever increasing number of minorities taking the test. Hispanic test takers nationwide have increased by 44% and African Americans have increased by 23% since 2012.