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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina parents and educators are getting a clearer picture of how prepared high school students are for college-level work, and the answer is that students on average are below their peers nationwide.

The company behind the ACT college admission test said Wednesday that the average score fell on the exam taken in spring 2012, the first time North Carolina required all high school juniors to take it.

The statewide average of 18.7 points in the test of English, math, reading, and science knowledge was below the national average of 20.9. North Carolina’s average composite score fell from 21.9 points last year, when just one in five North Carolina students chose to take the ACT.

North Carolina is one of just nine states that tests all high school juniors.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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