SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — ACT scores released this week show a 30-year low for nationwide average scores. However, some Concho Valley schools say they are not worried as pandemic challenges have been attributed to dips in recent years.

ACT says the average score for U.S. students was a 19.5 out of 36. Last year it was 19.8.

Cornerstone Christian School says it’s bouncing back to higher scores after some pandemic challenges.

“The national average in 2020 was a 20.6, and for us at Cornerstone that year it was a 19.9, which in my opinion is a little blip because typically we’re several points ahead of both state and national averages. Our 2023 average so far is 20.1,” said Director of Student Development Susan Brooks.

Some colleges and universities dropped standardized testing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic, but now they’re making a return. However, in the Concho Valley, Howard College says they don’t use the ACT as admission criteria.

“What we do is if a student is going into a program that requires what we consider TSI or college readiness, then we can use the ACT, SAT or the third test which is the TSI Assessment 2.0, which is the current test. We can use scores off of those to identify what a student’s college readiness level is,” said Kaitlyn Brosh, director of Student Life and Marketing and Outreach.

Brosh says for those who don’t meet a certain level, instead of going through remedial courses to get to, for example, College Algebra, they now can take a support class along with their college course to finish school faster.

“A lot of students didn’t take their SAT or ACT coming out of school or it has been a few years since they’ve done any testing or they just weren’t good test takers, so that gives them an opportunity to come into college and get started without the barriers of those test scores,” said Brosh.

Though the aftermath of the pandemic still poses several problems in education, returning to the basics has helped schools throughout the Concho Valley and the U.S. regain their footing.

“Covid was just a big disruption to everything and everybody for a while, and now that we’ve kind of got that behind us, we have found our rhythm again. We’re just at the basics, just one-on-one small classes working with the kids to try to get them most prepared for whatever their next step is,” said Brooks.

Brooks says for those preparing to take the ACT, start making goals and plan time to prepare as soon as you can. She also says although institutions use those scores to help with admissions, how high you score doesn’t define your achievements.