ACT Scores Show High School Students Are Not Ready for College

This year's ACT scores show that only 1 in 4 high school students are prepared for college in all four subject areas the test examines. Plus, education news on Hispanic enrollment and the college students most likely to be in debt.

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There’s a reason why colleges have to remediate so many students. According to a report on college and career readiness from the ACT, the Class of 2012 has some catching up to do. According to the latest results of the organization’s standardized college entrance test, only 1 in 4 students qualify as prepared for college in all four subject areas: English, reading, math and science. While about 72% of all ACT test takers met at least one of the four benchmarks for college readiness, 28% of students did not meet any of them.

Students were best in English, with 67% of test takers meeting that benchmark, and worst in science, with fewer than 1 in 3 students making the grade. Overall, the ACT scores were identical to last year’s—a 21.1 composite average.

When broken down by race, the ACT results are consistent with the typical portrait of the achievement gap: Asian students were the most college ready, with 42% meeting all four benchmarks, and black students were the least college ready, with just 5% meeting the mark in all four subject areas.

Read more and download the full report here.

More education news from the week: 
Schools As Segregated Today as They Were in the 1960s
The same week as a report from the Pew Hispanic Center showed Hispanics comprise 25% of all public elementary school students, a report released yesterday by the Center for American Progress shows schools spend $344 more on every white student than they do on every student of color. The report also found that our schools are “as segregated today as they were in the 1960s.” Nearly 40% of black and Hispanic students attend schools where more than 90% of students are nonwhite, whereas the average white student attends a school where 77% of his or her peers are also white, the report found. Read the full report here. (At the higher ed level, the Pew report found Hispanics are now the largest minority group on two- and four-year campuses, comprising 16.5% of all college enrollments. See the full report here.)

Number: 91%
That’s the percentage of teachers who say they spend some of their own money on school supplies for their students—a stat that definitely won’t surprise any teachers out there. According to the survey of more than 1,100 teachers, conducted by AdoptAClassroom.org, 67% of teachers spend money on snacks and 30% spend money to buy jackets, hats and gloves for their students.

Middle Income College Students Most Likely to Be in Debt
A forthcoming paper finds students from families who make between $40,000 and $59,000 a year graduate with $6,000 more debt than students from families who bring in less than $40,000. According to Education Week, black students, first-generation college students and children of single parents are also more likely than others to have more debt. Read more here.

Court Says Schools Can’t Check Students’ Immigration Status
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that the part of Alabama’s controversial immigration bill that ordered public schools to check the citizenship status of new students was unconstitutional. Doing so, the ruling said, wrongly singles out children who are in the country illegally. However, the court upheld a key part of the law that requires police to ask for proof of citizenship. Read more here.

Stat of the week: 
Fresh off the Olympics—where the U.S. won more medals than any other country—a report from the Center for the Next Generation takes a look at how the U.S. stacks up against China and India in terms of how well each country is preparing its next generation for competition in the global economy. The most telling stat: By 2030, China will have 200 million college graduates—more people than are in the entire U.S. workforce. Read more here.

In case you missed it: 
Officials at Emory University announced that since at least 2000, administrators had knowingly misreported information of incoming students, such as their GPAs, SAT scores and student short term loan amounts, in order to gain a more favorable spot on college ranking lists. The false information was given to U.S. News & World Report and other companies who compile college rankings. Last year, the university was named the 20th best school in the nation by U.S. News. Read more here.

 Kayla Webley is a Staff Writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @kaylawebley, on Facebook or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.
25 comments
tma_sierrahills
tma_sierrahills

"Schools As Segregated Today as They Were in the 1960"

Hmm, wonder why white parents don't want to send their little Ashley into a majority black or Hispanic school? Sorry, can't answer. I'm stumped.

LevonTostig
LevonTostig

How can this be???  We have liberal teachers in union-run schools and, for the first two years of these high schooler's education, Democrats in charge of Congress and the White House.  Are these children going to be... left behind? 

usingmyvoice
usingmyvoice

Just a note.  There are spammers on here; specifically Diana D. Hampton below.  Anybody know how to get these jerks off the page?

Isaiah Horbert
Isaiah Horbert

Not really a surprise. No matter how much fanfare there has been about racial progress the country is still in the same place it was 50 years ago. Why is it in the same place? Because 50 years is absolutely nothing when you look at human history. I went to a segregated school and you know what, the education there was worse than the surrounding "white" schools. I don't see education system changing anytime soon. Parents are the ones that are going to have to push for better education for their students. Or students, like I did, are going to have to take it into their hands to educate themselves. Either that or these students are going to end up having other people making the rules for their lives. If not making the rules, they will come up with some cooked up reason to continue to treat these people like trash...

Adnan7631
Adnan7631

How come they don't talk about Asians when they talk about segregation in schools? 

borisIII
borisIII

I had a client from the projects and was taken out of his home who qualified as moderately retarded on the IQ test.  But, I could tell talking to him he was smart and had a part time job while not in school rebuilding engines for import cars.  He just never tried in school and so he failed the IQ test and probably dropped out of school when he turns 18.

NaveedXVO
NaveedXVO

It's the IQ stupid. Some people can't be successful in college.

f_galton
f_galton

Liberals deny group differences in IQ exists, all they can do is keep throwing more money into education that doesn't change that reality. At the same time they support immigration policies that increase the low IQ population of the United States.

Isaiah Horbert
Isaiah Horbert

 You do realize that in the 19th century Asians were considered intellectually inferior to whites? Nope, you probably didn't know that did you.

f_galton
f_galton

Which has nothing to do with the fact group differences in IQ exist, and the fact that no matter how much money is thrown at education the gaps can't be closed.

arvay
arvay

Jews were also considered intellectually inferior, as well as Irish immigrants (who were also considered inherently criminal, lazy and drunks). The only intellectual inferiority visible in our history is the intellectual inferiority of those who believe in race or nationality-based intellectual inferiority. 

John Forsthoffer
John Forsthoffer

   And people are surprised by this? If you pay any attention to what your child is learning in school, you would know your tax money is being wasted. Not only are your kids not ready for college, they aren't ready for the real world. 

RobertSF
RobertSF

I checked the report. It doesn't even contain the word "private." That's the breakdown you need to do. Then you'll realize that just about 100% of the students from private schools are prepared for college. How can that be?

It's not the teachers. It's not the schools. The real difference is the students. Parents who care and who are themselves smart enough to be successful, don't send their kids to that gladiator pit that are the public schools, where everyone goes through metal detectors because the kids keep bringing knives and guns to school.

happydayfortennis
happydayfortennis

The difference is not public versus private, but rich versus poor. For most of my childhood, I went to a poor public school with incompetent teachers where half the students were on free or reduced lunch (a pretty clear indicator of poverty). A culture of complete disregard for education had been instilled into most of them, since most of their parents were not particularly educated either. It's really just an awful cycle where the parents don't care about education, the students don't care, the teachers and school don't care. But then I recently moved to an extremely wealthy city where all of the parents are highly educated and all of the public schools compete with each other for higher academic cred, almost all the teachers are wealthy and educated enough that they're teaching because they want to, and most of the students are pretty driven and intelligent. I'm not saying that my personal experience is somehow definitive proof that poverty necessarily caused this decline in education, but there is definitely a correlation between education, hard work, and wealth. 

So I wouldn't blame the less-prepared public school students entirely. They are just a part of a broken system and culture where education isn't valued by not only the students, but also the parents and teachers and schools.

Fatesrider
Fatesrider

 So what you're saying is that the rich are the only ones who can afford a decent school?

Interesting philosophy you have there...

Also, I'd like to see the source of your statistic.   Private schools have idiots, too, so while the average MAY be higher than public schools, I don't think it's within 40 points of 100%.  The law of averages and human nature argue against it being anywhere near what you say it is.  Keep in mind that it's the number of kids who actually pass the ACT, not the number who get into college because mommy or daddy paid for a new building or bribed an administrator.

Margaritae
Margaritae

like Ashley explained I'm in shock that some people can earn $4675 in a few weeks on the network. did you look at this (Click on menu Home)

John Forsthoffer
John Forsthoffer

   I do not agree. Private schools, Catholic schools etc. always make sure the children receive passing grades. If not, they are not likely to return to that school the following year and the school loses money. Seen it first hand. 

   The difference is the students with caring parents, I agree. BUT, a child with caring parents will do well in a public school also. Not everyone can afford private schooling. People pay taxes so kids can go to public schools. You'd think they would care more about how the money is spent and what the kids are taught. If all schools were privatized, I think that would make a difference. 

usingmyvoice
usingmyvoice

Speaking as the product of poorly run southern public schools whose child is now excelling in a top-notch private school in that same locale, I can state with good authority:  you're both wrong!  Caring parents are only one small part of a child's educational success.  Children excel in private schools for very specific reasons: smaller classes, better trained teachers, teaching methods geared to each individual student (there is more than one way to learn, and every child will learn if you teach to his/her primary style of learning), more advanced curriculum, and more opportunities to move ahead academically, especially in areas of interest or excellence.  Not to mention that private schools are staffed by more enthusiastic support personnel (reading specialists, etc.)  But in public schools, it's the same cookie-cutter mentality year after year.  The idea that every child should do well in school is the correct goal, but expecting them all to hit the same marks at the same time and learn in the same way is ridiculous, and indicative of some rather uneducated folks!  Kids get discouraged; teachers get burned out; business people who do not understand education stay very busy offering sound bytes and executive decisions as members of school boards and education committees, more money gets spent, performance levels stay the same (or fall), and on and on it goes.  ANY public school which is failing needs to look to a district where the public schools are EXCELLING and then implement those same programs.  As for being concerned where my money goes as a taxpayer, you bet your bottom I'm concerned, but I don't have to subject my child to a poor education in order to make a difference, especially when public education is typically deemed the most expendable item during budget cuts.  Put children first, and you'll be amazed at how well all of our kids can learn.  In other words, put your money where your mouth is.

RobertSF
RobertSF

Children in private schools learn better because more is expected of them. Let's face it -- given a reasonably bright child with no learning disabilities, nothing taught in K-12 is so difficult that the child can't learn him- or herself. And the idea that children need teaching tailored to their personalities is also incorrect. Again, given normal and reasonably bright children, a cookie-cutter approach works just fine. Besides, real life doesn't tailor itself to us as adults. As adults, everywhere we go, it's a cookie-cutter world with expectations that we have to meet. When we get jobs, our workload is not tailored to our likes and preferences. 

zetetic elench
zetetic elench

I thought education was touted as one of democracy's benefits. What's up with the devolution? 

RobertSF
RobertSF

It is, but education is wasted on the stupid. Our public schools are basically holding pens while the kids grown old enough to get pregnant or be sent to prison. Virtually no one in urban public schools has any hope of ever getting anywhere in life unless they can snag a government job. Otherwise, it will be Lowe's and Home Depot, or a life of crime and dealing drugs.