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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

ACT: 22% of this year's grads are ready for college

The average ACT score hit a new low this year, while the percentage of test-takers who failed all four College Readiness Benchmarks hit a new high of 42 percent. Only 22 percent were ready in all four subjects: reading, English, math and science.


Based on ACT's research, students meeting a benchmark have a 50 percent chance of earning a B or better in an entry-level course in that subject and a 75 percent chance of earning a C or better.


It's not just the pandemic, said ACT CEO Janet Godwin. Scores have been declining each year for the past five years. But closed schools and remote classes made it worse.


An increasing number of students are taking the ACT in their classrooms during school hours, rather than reporting to a testing center on the weekend. That makes it more convenient for students from low-income families and those in rural areas to take the test, but also lowers the average score.


On the flip side, fewer students are taking the ACT and SAT as fewer colleges and universities require test scores for admissions. ACT's number of test-takers is down by 30 percent since 2018, 37 percent for black students, reports AP. Usually, the weaker students are the ones eager to skip the test.


I think students should be told in middle school whether they're on track to pass university classes, to succeed in an apprenticeship or a job training program at a community college, to qualify for the armed services or to be able to fill out an employment form at a fast-food restaurant. They should be told what they need to do to get on the path they wish to follow and offered help to get there.

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14 Comments


Guest
Oct 13, 2022

When I attended middle school in 8th grade (1976-77) a semester of home economics and a semester of industrial arts was required for EVERY student male or female...


In those days students were grouped by ability (aka tracking, which is verboten to mention today).


The reality is that at the moment 77% of persons aged 17-26 cannot enlist in the armed forces of the US due to educational, medical, moral, or criminal background issues.


Many students in high school do NOT have the necessary reading, writing, and math skills to complete coursework in a skilled trade (vocational or career and technical education).


The state of Nevada got the lowest ranking of 17.3 for the ACT (a college ready student

should…


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Guest
Oct 14, 2022
Replying to

Actually, AP and IB classes are used as tracking as are acceptable to most people. One of the reasons that McAuliffe lost the governor's race in Virginia was that Loudon County school board had proposed doing away with AP/IB classes for most students.

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Guest
Oct 13, 2022

Let's grab 3 quotes from the linked story and re-sequence them:


1) For the class of 2021, the college enrollment rate was 57 percent, down from 59 percent for the previous class.


2) For the 2022 graduating class, 60 percent of students tested (with ACT) at least once through the program.


3) Among the 2022 graduating class, 22% of students met all four ACT Benchmarks, while 42% of students met none of these benchmarks.


(Question: is the 40% 'meeting no benchmarks' with the share 'not bothering to take the test'? Or 40% of the 60% tested -- about 24% of the whole class?)


But in any case the number starting is twice to three times higher than the number likely…


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Joanne Jacobs
Joanne Jacobs
Oct 14, 2022
Replying to

It's 42% of those who took the ACT did not meet the readiness benchmark in any subject (English, reading, math or science). Some of those students will not enroll in college, and many others will enroll in community college and drop out in the first year (often in the first month).

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Guest
Oct 13, 2022

If fewer schools are requiring ACT/SAT scores, and fewer are taking the tests, this suggests that entering first year students will potentially have a lower probability of successfully completing the courses they need to graduate. With the simultaneous pressure on schools to 'ensure student success' this sets up an inevitable process of reducing course requirements for graduation. Not a great scenario

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Guest
Oct 13, 2022
Replying to

But because the university is not requiring the test does not mean that certain colleges or programs at the university are not requiring the test. Many universities have firewalls to keep poorly prepared students away from the hard majors. See the University of Michigan as a good example.

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Guest
Oct 13, 2022

The kid's teachers can do it just fine. Deliver the summation to date of progress toward each of those goals in the kid's report card from 6th grade on. Reading is the critical one and a lot of kids make it to high school without ever learning to read or write, or make correct change.

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Guest
Oct 13, 2022

"I think students should be told in middle school whether they're on track to pass university classes, to succeed in an apprenticeship or a job training program at a community college, to qualify for the armed services or to be able to fill out an employment form at a fast-food restaurant. They should be told what they need to do to get on the path they wish to follow and offered help to get there. "


Joanne, who do you propose deliver the bad news for the bottom 50%? Keep in mind that they will be accused of being racist and incompetent at their jobs.


-Mark Roulo

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Guest
Oct 16, 2022
Replying to

Actually, vocational (career and technical education) isn't for dummies as many students simply lack the math, reading, and writing skills in order to handle the equipment in question safely...


I used to teach electricity and basic electronics, and the first thing I said to students was:


The moment you don't respect this (electricity), it kills you...

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