The ACT recently reported scores for the class of 2015, and the results show no improvement over previous years. This college entrance test has a scoring system that differs from that of the College Board Exam. Each of the ACT’s four sections: English, Reading, Math, and Science has a high score of 36. The composite score is the average of these four sections. The average score for this year’s test takers is 21. The Washington Post reports, “That was unchanged from the year before and largely echoed results going back a decade.”
The ACT establishes benchmarks for each of the four subject areas, which the organization explains as follows: ”The Benchmarks are scores on the ACT subject-area tests that represent the level of achievement required for students to have a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75% chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding credit-bearing first-year college courses . . . Benchmarks are median course placement values for (college) institutions and as such represent a typical set of expectations.” The ACT College Readiness Benchmarks are: English/Composition-18 College Algebra-22, Social Sciences-22, Biology-23. The website, Inside Higher Ed reports, “High school students who take a rigorous college preparatory curriculum not only score better on the ACT, but meet overall college readiness benchmarks to succeed in college. . . . only in English do a majority (in that case nearly two-thirds) of students meet the benchmarks. Only 28 percent of those finishing high school meet the benchmarks in all four subject areas.” Are these results acceptable?
Considering that the ACT has claimed to be more “curriculum based” than the SAT, these results indicate that schools need to provide more rigorous instruction to raised standards. Despite the institution of Common Core standards, little or nothing appears to have changed regarding raising standards.