For the fifth straight year, graduating seniors from South Dakota high schools are beating the national average score on one key college entrance exam.

According to the South Dakota Department of Education, the Mount Rushmore State's Class of 2022 logged an average score of 21.5 on the American College Test (ACT), which is more than a point-and-a-half higher than the national average (19.8).

This is the fifth year in a row that South Dakota students have averaged higher than 21 points on the ACT. The highest national average score during that time was 20.8 in 2018.

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The averages are based on the scores of all test-takers, from public and non-public high schools.

The ACT scores are a composite of the results in testing in English, math, reading, and science.

When broken down by subject, South Dakota students finished in the top 20 in English (68%), Math (49%), and Science (46%) among states with the highest percentage of students passing.


  • Massachusetts: 26
  • Connecticut: 25.9
  • New Hampshire: 25.7
  • Maine: 24.9
  • New York: 24.9
  • Rhode Island: 24.8
  • Illinois: 24.7
  • Michigan: 24.6
  • New Jersey: 24.4
  • Virginia: 24.4

Minnesota and Iowa finished right behind South Dakota with average ACT scores of 21.3 and 21.1 respectively.

The Hawkeye State did outpace South Dakota by a full ten percentage points with 70 percent of students in Iowa passing English.

South Dakota College & University Mascots

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