Alabama's college-bound students beat the regional average again on the ACT college entrance exam.
Alabama's senior class of 2002 posted an average score of 20.1, the same as the class of 2001.
The average for the 11 southern states dropped from 20.0 last year to 19.9. State education officials said it marked the sixth consecutive year that Alabama students topped the regional average.
The national average on the ACT test dropped to 20.8 after being at 21.0 for five consecutive years.
In Alabama, 30,955 students from public and private schools took the test in preparation for graduating last spring. That number represents 71 percent of the class of 2002, up two percentage points from the previous year.
One Alabama student, Andrew Newman of Muscle Shoals High School, was one of only 43 people nationwide to score a perfect 36 on the June administration of the ACT exam.
ACT Incorporated is a nonprofit based in Iowa City, Iowa.