ACT Shows Students Aren't Ready for College

ACT test company, recently published a report showing that approximately one in three students who take the ACT are not prepared for college. Specific areas where students have continued to show poor performance to date include mathematics (particularly algebra), writing and science (biology). While just over six in ten students meet college-preparedness benchmarks in individual subject areas, only a quarter of all test takers show competency in all four areas that the ACT exam covers.

While students' performance in individual subjects has fluctuated over the years, overall performance – across all subjects – has remained about the same. One year over 36% of students showed college-level proficiency in science, an increase of 5% over the previous year. However, that same year only 44% of test takers showed college-level proficiency in reading – a 6% decrease from the previous year.

There is also a disturbing performance disparity between white and African-American students. Nearly eight in ten white students test at a proficiency-level on the English portion of the ACT, while only three in ten African-American students demonstrate proficiency in English. And only 5% of African-American students (1 in 20) tested proficient in all four subject areas covered on the ACT. Less than half of other minority students, including Native Americans, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders, demonstrated proficiency in all four subjects. At 43% overall proficiency, Asian students demonstrated the high level of proficiency among any minority group.

Based on historic data, the gap between white and minority students is likely to persist for the foreseeable future. And with so few students ready for college upon graduation from high school, it goes without saying that our education system has room for improvement. The Obama Administration has said they will settle for nothing less than the highest percentage of college graduates in the world. Well Mr. Obama, our students must first be able to get into college before they can graduate!

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