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Wednesday
Aug172011

College-Bound Students Not Prepared in Basic Subjects

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Only one in four college-bound high school graduates is adequately prepared for college-level English, reading, math, and science, according to report released Wednesday by the ACT college admissions test.

Some 28 percent of the members of the high school class of 2011 failed to meet readiness benchmarks in any of the four core subject areas.

"ACT results continue to show an alarmingly high number of students who are graduating without all the academic skills they need to succeed after high school," the report stated.

The study also revealed a wide "achievement gap" between racial and ethnic groups.

  • In English, 77 percent of white students and 76 percent of Asian-American students met the readiness benchmark compared with 47 percent of Latinos and 35 percent of African-Americans.
  • In Reading, 62 percent of both white and Asian-American students met the readiness benchmark compared with 35 percent of Latinos and 21 percent of African-Americans.
  • In Mathematics, 71 percent of Asian-American students met the readiness benchmark compared with 54 percent of white students, 30 percent of Latinos and 14 percent of African-Americans.
  • In Science, 41 percent of Asian-American students met the readiness benchmark versus 37 percent of whites, 15 percent of Latino students and 6 percent of African-Americans.
  • Some 41 percent of Asian-Americans met the readiness benchmarks in all four subjects, compared with 31 percent for whites, 11 percent for Latinos and 4 percent for African-Americans.


"There's still a significant and an actually growing gap both at incomes levels and at racial/ethnic levels in the achievement of those benchmarks," said Jon Erickson, interim president of ACT. "This is a national imperative and a national concern."

Readiness was defined as a student having a 50 percent chance of getting a B or a 75 percent chance of getting a C in first-year courses English Composition, College Algebra, Biology, and social sciences.

There was some good news in the report. The percentages of all students meeting the benchmarks in mathematics and science increased from 2010 to 2011 by 2 percentage points in math and 1 percentage point in science. They remained the same for English (66 percent) and for reading (52 percent)

More than 1.6 million 2011 high school graduates -- 49 percent of the entire national graduating class -- took the ACT exam.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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