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It seems the lockdowns did more than just cause depression and anxiety in the classroom. It also affected students’ learning skills more than we ever imagined.

In what’s being called a “worrisome trend,” America’s class of 2022 finished with the lowest ACT scores in more than 30 years — marking the fifth year in a row in which college admission scores have dropped. Data released this week reveals this year’s high school seniors had an average score of 19.8, down from 20.3 in 2021. The new average marks the first time since 1991 that the score has fallen below the 20 mark, according to ACT CEO Janet Godwin.

Even more disturbing is only 22 percent of 2022’s graduating students hit the benchmarks in all four test sections — English, math, reading and science — while 42 percent failed to meet even one of them, ACT data reveals. “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 says.

How can we reverse the damage of the past two years?