The company responsible for American College Testing (ACT) reports that only one third of high school graduates have the math, reading, science, and English skills to succeed in college or in a career.
ACT, Inc. says that 54 percent of American high school students take the ACT – roughly the same number of students who took the SAT. About 31 percent of those students were not ready for any college coursework.
The ACT believes a high school student is ready for college when they demonstrate enough knowledge to bypass remedial courses.
A quarter of the graduates made average scores in all four subjects. This number was less for blacks students. Only 5 percent of black students made average scores across all subjects.
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"The readiness of students leaves a lot to be desired," said Jon Erickson, president of the company's education division.
Their data shows scores took a downturn beginning in 2009, but company officials are hopeful that change is related to more students take the exam, including those who do not intend to go to college.
Some of the test-takers were very close to meeting ACT standards, who were just 2 points shy of their readiness threshold.
"There is a group that's on the fence," Erickson said. "With a little further instruction or motivation, perhaps some additional remediation or refreshing some of their past skills, they may be able to achieve that benchmark."
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Students in all racial backgrounds did best in English and worst in science. ACT claims the benchmarks for reading and science success are being changed to better reflect what students should know today.