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Newly Released ACT Results Reveal Most of Country’s Students Aren’t College Ready

Newly Released ACT Results Reveal Most of Country’s Students Aren’t College Ready

Similar to last year, newly released results from the country’s most popular college entrance exam has revealed that most students aren’t college-ready.

While the number of students who took the ACT this year is up, the number of students who meet college-ready standards is down.

"Sixty-four percent of 2016 high school graduates sat for the standardized test, up from 49% in 2012. The jump comes as more states—including Mississippi, Nevada and South Carolina—require districts to administer the tests, in the hope of increasing students’ awareness of college pathways,” The Wall Street Journal said.

The Wall Street Journal says declining scores on college entrance exams in recent years has a lot to with the fact that the exams are being taken by a group of students who better reflect the country’s population of high school students as opposed to just a “self-selecting group of driven young adults.”

This year, 34 percent of all students who took the ACT did not meet any college-ready benchmarks at all, up from the 31 percent that did not meet any last year.

As the U.S. continually breaks records for the number of high school students graduating each year, many are concerned that students are graduating without being college or career ready, a concern that is further validated with these latest ACT results.

Analysis of the ACT results revealed several other interesting findings, which can be read below:


A Nationally Lacking Well-Rounded STEM Curriculum

Other interesting findings of the analysis for the 2016 results has found that perhaps schools aren’t giving their students a well-rounded STEM education.

"Since 2012, students meeting the new ACT College Readiness Benchmark in STEM, which is a combined measure of math and science readiness, have earned consistently higher average ACT science scores,” the report says.

"In contrast, ACT mathematics scores for those students have remained flat during that time. This raises the question of whether STEM initiatives undertaken by many states are placing more emphasis on the science side of high school curricula and less emphasis on the mathematics side.”


Success in Career and Technical Education

The analysis revealed some good news about the increasing success of CTE programs.

"Between 2012 and 2016, the proportion of students aspiring to vocational/technical and two-year degrees increased by 2%, while the proportion of students aspiring to higher levels of education dropped by 6%,” the report said.

"These findings suggest that the push towards advanced manufacturing and high-skill trades may be having an impact on student aspirations, with more students realizing that they can be successful without a four-year degree."


Missed Opportunities for College-Bound Students

The ACT results revealed that one in three students did not take advantage of their ability to request that their scores be sent for free to up to four colleges.

"During the ACT registration process, students may request that scores be sent for free to up to four colleges. One out of every three ACT-tested graduates did not take advantage of this offer, representing another missed opportunity for many students.


The Teacher Shortage Is Likely to Continue

While health-care related professions are increasingly attracting young minds, students are decreasingly becoming interested in education-related careers. 

Only 4% of students said they were interested in pursuing a career in education.

Read the full report here.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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