ACT: 25% are ready for college

Twenty-five percent of ACT test takers in 2012 were prepared for college, according to ACT’s 2012 Condition of College and Career Readiness report. Sixty-seven percent were ready to pass a college writing course, 52 percent were prepared to read a social science textbook, 46 percent were ready for college algebra and 31 were likely to pass biology.

Forty percent of ACT test takers reached the readiness benchmark in three areas. Twenty-eight percent didn’t qualify in any subject.

Passing an ACT benchmark means a student has a 50 percent chance of earning a B or better and a 75 percent chance of earning at least a C.

Thirty-seven percent of test takers want to earn a professional or graduate degree, 45 percent will settle or a bachelor’s and 5 percent are aiming at an associate degree.

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  1. So… about the same percentage of Americans who currently complete a 4 year degree are prepared for college.

    Not a surprise.

    I wonder if the ‘college at 18’ hurts more than it helps for a lot of these kids. Some of the people who are likely to fail out at 18 might have been better off starting at 25 or 26…

    • A stint in the military would benefit a lot of kids; it’s helped millions of kids grow up and acquire the habits and behaviors that are equally valuable in military and civilian life (and which kids in earlier generations had to learn in HS or before). This is particularly true for those who don’t really know what they want to do. The military tests for aptitude, the instruction is direct and specific and many fields have direct civilian counterparts. It’s far better than spending four (or more) years partying and getting a very soft degree.

      • momof4,

        The military right now has two applicants for every open slot available, and based on recruiters, 3 of every 4 persons who want to join the U.S. military are disqualified due to schooling, medical (including obesity), or a disqualifying criminal record (any felony, or drug conviction, typically).

        The typical military recruit these days has a high school diploma, and scores well above the minimum cutoff score in the ASVAB (29-43 depending on branch of service). The overall weakness in the economy means that the military can be more selective about who is admitted.

        • I am well-aware of that, but it is a viable option for bright kids who don’t really know what they want to do and/or can’t find a civilian job which interests them, just as it was in the 70s. Back then, I knew many Navy enlisted (non-officer) personnel with college degrees, but civilian jobs were scarce (sounds familiar). The Air Force and the Navy, in particular, have lots of very technical specialties.

  2. No more than about 25% of the US population has the level of cognitive ability suitable for a college education. Even among those who do many would probably be better off not attending. Certainly this is true for most of those incurring large debts to secure degrees in fields for which there is little demand.

  3. Mike in Texas says:

    What? You mean 10 years of high stakes testing and corporate driven “reform” haven’t made everyone ready for college?

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      No, it hasn’t. No previous reform did, either. No reform ever will–because it is an impossible and undesirable task: to turn all young people into pre-college students.