New data show that fewer than 25% of 2010 graduates who took the ACT college-entrance exam possessed the academic skills necessary to pass entry-level courses, despite modest gains in college-readiness among U.S high-school students in the last few years...More at the Wall Street Journal.
In the recent results, only 24% of the graduating class of 2010 scored high enough on the ACT in math, reading, English and science to ensure they would pass entry-level college courses. This is a slight uptick from last year, when 23% were ready for college, and from 2008, when 22% were ready. Still, 28% of students didn't score high enough on even one subject-matter exam to ensure college readiness...
ACT officials say a more diverse test-taking population partly explains the less-than-stellar results. African-American and Hispanic students made up 24% of the test-taking pool this year, compared with about 19% four years ago. African-American and Hispanic students generally post lower scores than their white and Asian counterparts.
But ACT officials and national experts say a weakened high-school curriculum is also at fault. The testing data show that even when students take a core curriculum—defined as four years of English and three years each of math, science and social studies—they aren't likely to be college-ready.
About 70% of students who sat for the ACT took a core curriculum in high school, but only 29% met college-readiness standards on all four subject exams...
Joseph Harris, director of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research, a nonprofit research organization, said high schools, traditionally, were good at preparing a select group of students for college. But as low-skill jobs disappeared in the global economy, more students migrated from shop and home economics to the core curriculum.
18 August 2010
National ACT scores released