Louisiana students rank 43rd in the nation in a test of college readiness called the ACT, according to figures released Thursday.
In addition, the state ranks 10th of 17 states where all students take the exam.
The results were announced in a report called The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2017 by the Iowa City, Iowa group that administers the test.
The ACT measures how students do on English, math, reading and science.
A perfect score is 36.
State officials on Aug. 9 announced that public high school students had a composite score of 19.6, up from 19.5 last year.
The rankings list Louisiana's composite as 19.5 because it includes both public and private school students, and relies on the last score.
State officials use only public student results and the best score, which is why the scores differ slightly.
The U.S. average is 21.0, including the District of Columbia.
"The annual ACT report makes clear that Louisiana high school students and educators are achieving steady and significant gains in college and career readiness, especially when compared to other states where all students are required to take this exam," state Superintendent of Education John White said in a statement.
"Of those states that test 100 percent of students, Louisiana ranks among the top 10 nationwide and among the top three in the South," he said.
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education passed the 100 percent policy in 2012.
The change was aimed at giving more students a chance at post-secondary education.
The previous policy meant that the ACT was taken mostly by students who planned to attend college.
Some states with the highest average composite scores have limited participation, in part because students opt to take the SAT.
Connecticut has an average composite score of 25.2 but only 31 percent of high school graduates there took the test.
Minnesota leads the nation – 21.5 – among states where 100 percent of high school graduates took the ACT.
In that group Louisiana finished ahead of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi and Nevada.
Louisiana's national score of 19.5 is up from 19.2 in 2014.