The ACT report for the class of 2013 presents a grim portrait for the nation’s academic performance. The results indicated that only 25% of those who took the exam have demonstrated that they are ready for college.As reported to CNBC, the data from ACT’s annual report, “Indicate thousands of students graduate from high schools without the knowledge necessary for the next steps in life. The data also show a downturn in overall student scores, although company officials attribute the slide to updated standards and more students taking the exams—including those with no intention of attending two- or four-year colleges.”
What do the results mean? The test has four sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science, each scored on a 1-36 point scale. The average national composite score has hovered around 21. “Under ACT’s definition, a young adult is ready to start college or trade school if he or she has the knowledge to succeed without taking remedial courses. Success is defined as the student’s having a 75 percent chance of earning a C grade and a 50 percent chance of earning a B.”
ACT suggested an explanation for the decline in the scores for the reading and science sections could have resulted from a higher benchmark that it imposed to align with higher standards. However, the English and math scores also declined when compared with those of earlier years.
When the organization analyzed the scores by race, it found that only 5% of African American students met the benchmarks in all four areas. In comparison, 43% of Asian Americans passed all four subjects. Overall, these statistics indicate that most students are not receiving the skills necessary to succeed in college.