ACT: A Bad Job All Around

The ACT (American College Testing company) has just published its annual look at college readiness. This study comes in light of its setting several benchmarks of college readiness back in 2010. Essentially, the organization has determined that in order to be ready for college high school students need to achieve certain minimum ACT test scores in English Composition, social sciences courses, College Algebra, or Biology.

So which states are doing a good job preparing students for college, according to the ACT model? Well, none of them.

Despite the fact that the new study (pdf) indicated that “more students were college ready,” the report revealed that zero states had 55 percent or more students meeting three of the four ACT benchmarks. Just one in four high school students, or 25 percent of them, met all four college readiness benchmarks.

According to the report:

States must define “how good is good enough” for college and career readiness. In addition to a consistent, rigorous set of essential K-12 content standards, states must define performance standards so that students, parents, and teachers know how well students must perform academically to have a reasonable chance of success at college or on the job. Based on decades of student performance data, ACT defines “college readiness” as students having a 50% chance of earning a grade of B or higher or about a 75% chance of earning a grade of C or higher in first-year college English Composition; College Algebra; Biology; or History, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, or Economics.

And we wonder why most college students don’t graduate from college in four years.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer