The majority of high school graduates in the U.S. are not ready for college according to the ACT annual report, “The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013.”
The report, released Aug. 21 by ACT, the company that produces the ACT college admissions exam, revealed that only 26 percent of graduates who took the exam in 2013 met readiness benchmarks in all four subject areas. Nearly a third of graduates failed to meet any of the Readiness Benchmarks.
Percentage of students meeting College Readiness Benchmarks by subject:
- English – 64 percent
- Reading – 44 percent
- Math – 44 percent
- Science – 36
The results for minority students indicate an even greater problem with more than half of African American, Hispanic and American Indian students failing to meet any of the College Readiness Benchmarks.
ACT Chief Executive Officer Jon Whitmore notes that success in high school does not necessary translate into readiness for college, and he expresses concern that so many students may struggle with college coursework.
“As a nation, we must set ambitious goals and take strong action to address this consistent problem. The competitiveness of our young people and of our nation as a whole in the global economy is at stake.” – Jon Whitmore
The ACT exam tests students’ readiness for college-level work in four subjects: English, reading, math and science. The ACT benchmarks are the minimum scores required for students to have a high probability of success in the first two years of college. ACT developed these benchmarks using data on actual performance by college students. Students that meet the benchmark in a subject, according to ACT, have a 50 percent probability of earning a grade of B or better and a 75 percent probability of earning a C or better in corresponding college courses.
Whitmore believes the future will be brighter as states implement the more rigorous Common Core Standards, which ACT helped to develop.