23 August 2012

ACT Scores: Most HS Graduates Aren't Prepared for College

The ACT just released it's annual report on "The Condition of College & Career Readiness." Curious to me is how different news outlets spin the results:

The scores are indeed flat and have been for five years. The AP achieves a positive spin by noting that the number of students taking the test has increased by 17% in those five years. If you assume that those who take the test are the top students, then the 17% addition represents the lowest performers on the exam and things have improved. However, the 17% addition could also indicate that more students are taking both the ACT and SAT rather than selecting one or the other.



Of primary concern to us at the Gates Foundation is the low rate of college readiness. Of those who take the exam (a subset of all high school students) only 25% are prepared for college in all four subject areas (English, Reading, Mathematics and Science). The goals of our U.S. College Ready team are to elevate the standard of high school graduation to mean college ready and to increase the graduation rate beyond 80%. The ACT report reminds us just how far away we are from that goal.

Is that a worthy goal? In an earlier post I noted that society is turning to education as the solution to poverty. I offer two additional facts to support this argument:
(Edited 2012-08-23 to include the Forbes headline)

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