NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The release of 2016 ACT college readiness scores shows relatively few Louisiana students are meeting benchmarks indicating readiness for college-level science, math and reading studies.

Fifty-nine percent meet the English benchmark, but only 35 percent reached the reading benchmark; 26 percent hit the math benchmark; 27 percent, the science benchmark.

The average composite score on the ACT test has edged up in Louisiana, from 19.4 in 2015 to 19.5 this year.

State officials note that Louisiana is one of 18 states in which all students take the ACT. Among those states, Louisiana ranks 13th in terms of composite scores. Louisiana ranks third among seven Southern states where all students take the ACT.

The state says Louisiana's composite score has edged up three consecutive years, while the national average has dropped.