College readiness inched up for this year’s graduates, ACT reports. Twenty-five percent who took the ACT are ready to succeed in first-year, college-level writing, algebra, social science and biology classes. That compares to 24 percent in 2010.
On the down side, 28 percent of test takers were unprepared in all subjects.
Linking test scores with actual college grades, ACT defines college readiness as a 50 percent chance of earning a grade of B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of earning a C or higher in a typical first-year college course.
Students are doing better in math and science, the weakest subjects:
This year, 45 percent of test takers (compared to 43 percent last year) met or exceeded the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in math, while 30 percent (compared to 29 percent last year) met or exceeded the benchmark in science. In comparison, 66 percent and 52 percent met or surpassed the benchmarks in English and reading, respectively, both unchanged from last year.
More students are taking the ACT, which puts downward pressure on scores. Nearly half the 2011 graduating class took the exam. Black and Latino test takers, only 19 percent of the total in 2007, now make up 26 percent of test takers.
Update: Thanks to commenters for noting the pass rates (low) in states that require all high school students to take the ACT, regardless of their college plans. (The idea is to motivate students to consider college.)
RiShawn Biddle highlights the dismal college readiness rates for black and Hispanic students who took the ACT: four percent of blacks and 11 percent of Hispanics were college ready in all subjects compared to 31 percent of whites and 41 percent of Asian-Americans.