NAEP: 38% of 12th-graders are ready for college

Thirty-eight percent of 12th-graders read well enough for college coursework and 39 percent have the necessary math skills, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Students who score “proficient” in reading and between “basic” and “proficient” in math are prepared to pass college courses, analysts said. It wasn’t possible to judge career readiness.

High school graduation rates are up, but many students start college in remedial courses. Dropout rates are high for poorly prepared students.

“A lot of times we’re getting kids to graduate by asking less of them, not more of them,” says David Conley, director of the Center for Educational Policy Research at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

“The question we have to ask ourselves is, how is it that we have probably twice that number of kids taking college-type prep courses, and yet only half of them are getting to the knowledge level they need? What’s going on in courses that are supposed to prepare kids for college?” Professor Conley asks.

NAEP is optimistic compared to ACT, which estimates that only about a quarter of ACT test-takers are prepared to succeed in college.

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  1. If one assumes that 12th graders are roughly the people above the 20th percentile in IQ then 38% of them ready for college corresponds to the population with IQ above 108. So we are now probably maximizing the number of students who receive a college education.

    15% of taxicab drivers today have college degrees. A few decades ago that number was less than 1%. Such statistics are telling us we need fewer college graduates not more.

  2. The current percentage for college degree holders in the US is 29%, which is the highest it’s ever been. So, maybe 40% ready for college is “about right.”

  3. Why choose between basic and proficient in math? Why not proficient? If they set the bar at proficient in reading and math, only 26% of teh students will be able to do college, and that matches up with the 29% of high school grads, graduating from college.