The Benchmarks are scores on the ACT subject-area tests that represent the level of achievement required for students to have a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75% chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding credit-bearing first-year college courses. These college courses include English composition, college algebra, introductory social science courses, and biology. Based on a sample of 214 institutions and more than 230,000 students from across the United States, the Benchmarks are median course placement values for these institutions and as such represent a typical set of expectations. The ACT College Readiness Benchmarks are:

College Course ACT Subject-Area Test ACT Explore® Benchmark Grade 8 ACT Explore® Benchmark Grade 9 ACT Plan® Benchmark The ACT® Benchmark
English Composition English 13 14 15 18
College Algebra Mathematics 17 18 19 22
Social Sciences Reading 16 17 18 22
Biology Science 18 19 20 23