While 67 percent of the test-takers in the class of 2009 met college-ready benchmarks in English and 53 percent did so in reading, only 42 percent did so in math and 28 percent did so in science, according to the test results.
Based on ACT’s research, students who meet college readiness benchmarks have at least a 75 percent chance of earning a C or better in first-year, non-remedial courses.
Seventy percent of the test-takers said they had taken a core curriculum: four years of English and at least three years each of natural science, social science and math.
In the past, only students applying to selective colleges took the ACT or SAT. Now, five states require all juniors to take a college admissions exam in the hopes of encouraging college aspirations. That tends to depress scores by including less-capable students, notes College Puzzle. So perhaps it’s not surprising that college-readiness scores have remain flat since 2005.
Update: Guestblogging on Eduwonk, Michael Goldstein complains that we have the worst of all college-prep options.
1. The top one would be vast numbers of 18-year-olds legitimately prepared for college, which I think is a key driver of the Gates Foundation mission.
2. The middle option is at least honest — and common in certain countries. Many who won’t end up with college degrees are steered during high school to some sort of vocational training.
3. Our system tells lots of 9th graders they’ll be taking classes to prepare them for college, knowing statistically that, except in some suburban and private schools, the majority of those 9th graders will never graduate from college.
Only about half of students who start college complete a four-year degree within six years. The quit rate is highest in the first year.