Information Brief 2013-22

Science Courses Taken and ACT College Readiness Benchmark Performance in Science

As part of a core curriculum, ACT recommends students complete three or more years of science courses. Eighty-five percent of 2012 ACT-tested high school graduates took at least three years of science courses.

Students who completed at least three years of science coursework were more likely to meet the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in Science compared to those who completed less than three years of science coursework. For example, 47% of students who completed biology, chemistry, and physics met the Science Benchmark; whereas, only 13% of students completing less than three years met the Science Benchmark.

Percent Meeting the Science Benchmark by Science Courses Taken

Science CoursesStudents Meeting Science Benchmark
General science, biology, chemistry, and physics39%
Biology, chemistry, and physics47%
General science, biology, and chemistry22%
Other combination of 3 years20%
Less than 3 years13%
No science reported14%

Note: Data are based on 1,666,017 ACT-tested 2012 high school graduates.


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