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ACT reports 60 percent of high school students at risk of not succeeding in college, career

STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 8/31/2012, 11:25 a.m.
ACT reports 60 percent of high school students at risk of not succeeding in college, career

A report from the American College Testing Program (ACT) revealed that many students aren't ready for college or career success in America. According to a recent breakdown of their test results, the nonprofit entity concluded that "success in college and career is at risk for at least 60 percent of likely college-bound 2012 U.S. high school graduates."

Titled "Condition of College & Career Readiness 2012," the annual report focuses on the scores earned by graduating seniors who took the ACT college and career readiness exam. According to the report, 28 percent of ACT-tested graduates in 2012 didn't meet any of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks in the subjects of English, math, reading and science. Students who fell into that group are more likely to struggle in first-year college courses in those areas.

Meanwhile, another 15 percent met only one of the benchmarks and 17 percent met just two. Overall, 60 percent of those who took the ACT test met only two of the four benchmarks for college readiness--something that raised the concern of ACT Chief Executive Officer Jon Whitmore.

"Far too many high school graduates are still falling short academically," said Whitmore in a released statement. "We need to do more to ensure that our young people improve. The advanced global economy requires American students to perform at their highest level to compete in the future job market and maintain the long-term economic security of the U.S."

But all wasn't lost with the ACT results. The report revealed that the percentage of graduates who met or surpassed the readiness benchmarks in math and science increased for the third straight year, with 48 percent and 31 percent respectively. But while the English and reading percentages are higher, they remained flat for the fifth consecutive year.

As for New York, on average more students percentage-wise displayed college readiness in all four subjects when compared to the rest of the country. When divided by race, a higher percentage of Asian New Yorkers performed better in the reading, math and science categories while a higher percentage of whites scored best in English. African-Americans had the lowest percentage of test takers meeting ACT benchmarks for college readiness.

With the overall trend not looking too good, ACT research pointed to the importance of "early monitoring and intervention" that can identify at-risk students.

"Our research supports what many educators and parents have long suspected--that the best way to help our students prepare for successful futures is by monitoring their achievement, academic behaviors and goals starting early in their academic careers and providing appropriate help whenever we find they are not on track for success," said Whitmore.

Earlier this summer, ACT announced plans to launch a new assessment system that would cover early elementary grades through high school. The system would be designed to give parents, students and educators the information and insight necessary to ensure academic success for students.