2012 ACT Report States 60% of U.S. Students Aren’t College-Ready

Recently ACT released its edition of The Condition of College & Career Readiness report based on information collected from 2012 high school graduates taking the ACT college and career readiness exam. A record breaking number of students, more than half of the U.S. graduating class, took the ACT exam. Data shows that more than ¼ didn’t meet any of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks in English, mathematics, reading and science. Thus, suggesting that these students haven’t been adequately prepared by their respective high schools and hence are likely to struggle in first-year College courses in all four of those subject areas.

Furthermore, the 2012 ACT Report states that 15% of test-takers met only one out of the four benchmarks, while 17% of test-takers met just two benchmarks. In short, a total of 60% of test takers met no more than two of the four benchmarks. Therefore, in all, only ¼ of the students showed the necessary proficiency needed in all four subject areas; something unchanged from the previous year.

Remarking on the report findings, ACT Chief Executive Officer, Jon Whitmore, said that “Far too many high school graduates are still falling short academically”.

This is particularly unsettling because as the U.S. continues to advance in the global economy, more of our students will be competing in the same job market as their better-prepared international counterparts. In order for our students to maintain the long-term economic security of the U.S., our students need to be better prepared.

The College Readiness Benchmarks are empirically derived and based on actual grades earned in college by students who took the ACT. The Benchmarks specify the minimum scored that is needed on each of the four ACT subject tests to indicate that a student has a 75% chance of earning a grade of C or better or a 50% chance of earning a B or better in a typical credit-bearing first year college course in that particular subject area. These benchmarks are a great indicator of college readiness as the ACT continually updates its research to ensure that the Benchmarks are reflective of college success.

Jon Whitmore further stated that, “Our research supports what many educators and parents have long suspected – that the best way to help our students prepare for successful futures is by monitoring their achievement, academic behaviors and goals starting early in their academic careers and providing appropriate help whenever we find they are not on track for success.”