ACT Scores Show Most Students Aren’t Ready for College
Fewer than one quarter of last school year’s graduating high school seniors who took the ACT scored at the “college-ready” level in all four subject areas, a finding that prompted the nation’s highest education official to renew his demand that schools do a far better job preparing students for college.
According to results released today, the proportion of tested graduating seniors who are “college ready” as defined by the ACT grew from 22 percent in the class of 2008 to 23 percent in the class of 2009. College-readiness levels remained within two-tenths of a percentage point of where they’ve been since 2005.
“We need to increase the number of high school graduates who are prepared to succeed in college,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement released through ACT Inc., the Iowa City, Iowa-based nonprofit organization that designs the test. “The recent increase in college preparedness on the ACT is good news. But our students need to do dramatically better to guarantee their future success.”
The average composite score across all areas tested—English, mathematics, reading, and science—was 21.1 on a 36-point scale, the same as for the class of 2008.
Leaders of ACT saw encouraging signs in the national test-score report. The pool of test-takers continues to expand and grow more diverse. There were nearly 1.5 million test-takers in the class of 2009, 4 percent more than in the class of 2008. Some of that growth is due to the fact that two more states—Kentucky and Wyoming—joined Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan in requiring all 11th graders to take the ACT.
The number of test-takers grew more slowly this past year than it did between 2007 and 2008, when the pool expanded by 9 percent. The number of test-takers has grown 25 percent since 2005. Since 2005, participation by black students has risen 41 percent, by Hispanics 61 percent, and by Asians by 51 percent, compared with a 20 percent rise among white students.
Copyright 2009 by Editorial Projects in Education. All rights reserved.
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