Utah students compared well with their peers nationwide in 1988 test results released by the American College of Testing Program.

The Utah high school students had higher average composite scores and also tested higher in English, social studies and natural science, said Dr. James R. Moss, state superintendent of public instruction."Such an academic record of achievement is excellent evidence of the success of the members of Utah's graduating class of 1988," he said.

The scores become more impressive, he said, when the high percentage of Utah students who take the test is considered. More than 65 percent of the state's seniors (15,012) took the 1988 ACT test - a much higher percentage than most states. As more students take the test, the potential for lowering the average score increases.

Utah improved upon its own grade scores for 1987 in English and natural science. The social studies and composite scores held steady, while math scores fell from 16.8 to 16.6. The math score also was under the national average of 17.2.

Utah's male students continue to out score girls in both math and science, while the females do better in English - patterns that state school officials would like to see altered. Girls do not enroll in math and science classes on the same scale as their male counterparts, said Dr. David Nelson, director of evaluation and assessment.