(WHNT) — The average ACT score across the nation is the lowest its been in more than 30 years, according to new data released Wednesday.

The national average ACT composite score was 19.8 for the Class of 2022. That’s the lowest average score since 1991 when it was 20.

“This is the fifth consecutive year of declines in average scores, a worrisome trend that began significantly before the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has persisted,” said ACT CEO Janet Godwin.

ACT data shows scores have declined during the pandemic with these low levels last seen in the early 1990s.

The lowest ACT composite score in the nation went to Nevada at 17.3. The highest composite score went to the District of Columbia at 26.9, followed by California at 26.5.

“The magnitude of the declines this year is particularly alarming, as we see rapidly growing numbers of seniors leaving high school without meeting the college-readiness benchmark in any of the subjects we measure,” Godwin continued. “These declines are not simply a byproduct of the pandemic. They are further evidence of longtime systemic failures that were exacerbated by the pandemic.”

Godwin said a return to the status quo before the COVID-19 would be a “disservice to students and educators.”

“These systemic failures require sustained collective action and support for the academic recovery of high school students as an urgent national priority and imperative,” Godwin concluded.

To see more highlights from this year’s ACT report, visit act.org.