Union High School ACT scores for the Class of 2013 dipped slightly from the previous year, and the scores are again below the state average.

Last year’s overall composite score at UHS was 21.2, which is four-tenths of a point below the state average of 21.6.

The school’s scores are again higher than the national average.

The college-entry exam measures students’ readiness for college-level work. This year’s graduates scored lower than the state average in the subject areas of English, math, and science.

UHS scores matched the state in reading subject area.

Principal Doug Cuneio said district officials are studying why scores are down this year, and will work to make adjustments.

There were 137 students who took the test last school year. That is an increase of 30 students from the previous year.

Compared to the Class of 2012, scores are down slightly as well. That year, the composite score was 21.4.

The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest possible score. The test is the most popular college-entry exam in Missouri and other Midwestern states.

Overall, Missouri ranks 23rd nationally, which is up from 26th in 2012. The number of Missouri graduates taking the ACT declined slightly to 74 percent or 49,217 graduates, compared to 75 percent or 49,222 graduates last year.

For the ninth consecutive year, Missouri’s ACT composite score remained at 21.6. This ranks Missouri seventh out of 20 states with similar participation rates. The national composite score was 20.9, a slight decrease from 21.1 the previous year.

Following are composite scores at UHS since 2006:

2006 — 21.6;

2007 — 21.8;

2008 — 21.7;

2009 — 22.2;

2010 — 21.8; and

2011 — 22.1.

State Numbers

A total of 44 Missouri students scored a perfect 36 on the exam in 2013, up from 29 last year. Three out of four (76 percent) Missouri ACT-tested high school graduates in 2013 met at least one college readiness benchmark, according to ACT’s annual report.

Only 28 percent of Missouri test-takers met all four benchmarks, which was above the national average of 26 percent and an increase of 1 percent over 2012.

Officials said an achievement gap still persists in Missouri with only 5 percent of African-Americans and 18 percent of Hispanic/Latinos meeting all four benchmarks on the ACT.

A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a “B” grade or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a “C” grade or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course.

College- and career-readiness is a goal of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Top 10 by 20 initiative, which calls for Missouri to rank among the top 10 performing states in education by the year 2020.