South Dakota outperforms nation on ACT

PIERRE, S.D.(Press Release) – ACT has released its 2023 results. South Dakota students earned an average composite score of 21.1, which is above the national average and the highest in the region. Nearly 60 percent of the state’s 2023 graduates took the ACT.

“South Dakota’s ACT scores are good,” said Secretary of Education Joseph Graves. “Taking the ACT means a student is considering education beyond high school, and in a knowledge-based economy, that’s a critical thing. I credit South Dakota high school students’ better performance to the fact that we kept our schools open during the pandemic. Our students and teachers did the work straight through a difficult time.”

Fifty-nine percent of South Dakota’s 2023 graduates scored a 20 or above on the ACT, compared to 49.5 percent for Midwestern states, and 44.3 percent nationally. South Dakota’s public universities require an 18 for general acceptance into their institutions.

The ACT composite score reflects sub-scores in English, math, reading, and science.

South Dakota’s ACT test-takers indicated they have an interest in staying in state to pursue further education. Of the institutions identified to receive students’ scores, the top 10 are universities and technical colleges in South Dakota.

For more information, visit ACT’s website.

Average Composite ACT Scores – South Dakota vs. National*

Year South Dakota National
2019 21.6 20.7
2020 21.7 20.6
2021 21.6 20.3
2022 21.5 19.8
2023 21.1 19.5