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Third of grads not college-ready, report says

By Associated Press


WASHINGTON » Almost a third of this year's high school graduates who took the ACT tests are not prepared for college-level writing, biology, algebra or social science classes, according to data the testing company released Wednesday.

The company's annual report also found a gap between students' interests now and projected job opportunities when they graduate, adding to the dire outlook for the class of 2013.

"The readiness of students leaves a lot to be desired," said Jon Erickson, president of the Iowa-based company's education division.

The ACT reported that 31 percent of all high school graduates tested were not ready for any college coursework requiring English, science, math or reading skills. The other 69 percent of test takers met at least one of the four subject-area standards.

Just a quarter of this year's high school graduates cleared the bar in all four subjects, demonstrating the skills they will need for college or a career, according to company data. The numbers are even worse for black high school graduates. Only 5 percent were deemed fully ready for life after high school.

The report's findings suggest that many students will struggle when they arrive on campus or they'll be forced to take remedial courses — often without earning credits — to catch their peers.

The data reveal a downturn in overall student scores since 2009. Company officials attribute the slide to updated standards and more students taking the exams — including many with no intention of attending two- or four-year colleges.

In terms of careers, the report found a chasm between what students want to study and where they might find jobs down the road. ACT compared federal Bureau of Labor Statistics projections with their own questionnaires and found insufficient student interest in the five fastest-growing industries with workers who require some college.

For instance, the government estimates that 17 percent of job openings in 2020 will be in education fields but only 6 percent of test takers told ACT they wanted a job there. Computer and information technologies will account for 11 percent of openings in 2020, but only 2 percent of students indicated they want a career in that industry.

The government estimates 9 percent of job openings will be in sales and marketing, community services and management fields. ACT reports that 2 percent of test takers are interested in sales and marketing, 7 percent in community services and 6 percent in management.

The ACT report is based on the 54 percent of high school graduates this year who took the exams.

Under ACT's definition, a young adult is ready to start college or trade school if he or she has the knowledge to succeed without taking remedial courses. Success is defined as the student's having a 75 percent chance of earning a C grade and a 50 percent chance of earning a B, based on results on each of the four ACT subject areas — math, science, reading and writing — which are measured on a scale from 1 to 36 points.

Only 26 percent of students met the benchmarks for all four sections of the ACT test.

Of the 1.7 million students who took the exam, as many as 290,000 were within 2 points of meeting at least one of the four readiness thresholds.

"There is a group that's on the fence," Erickson said. "With a little further instruction or motivation, perhaps some additional remediation or refreshing some of their past skills, they may be able to achieve that benchmark."


On the Net:

» www.act.org/readiness/2013

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thos wrote:
The combination of [1] federally funded programs that inflict all manner of new fads and untested pet theories of “educators” on kids who are then treated like lab rats and [2] the gathering of massive power (dues) by teacher unions that have transformed teaching from a calling to a job and changed the emphasis from educating kids to an adults jobs program - - these have had entirely predictable results that are likely to get much worse until the general public realizes the need to separate School and State. Government schools can’t hack it. It’s as plain as the nose on your face. Then again, that has been true since “A Nation At Risk” was published THIRTY YEARS ago. There are none so blind as those who REFUSE to see.
on August 22,2013 | 03:38AM
false wrote:
Yes, the politics and commercial monopolies operating under the guise of reform was well reflected in the Strive High media release. Nothing can be more miserable than the "bell curve" of mediocrity standing as something achieved. The celebration has been deafening over such exponential failure of an administration. The economic differences can measured in how many toothless people you meet and greet in a day. That says it all. Zip Codes are the measure of economic success as it impacts school statistics. Any toothless parents at Hokulani, or any of the "lani" schools? Any classroom fights and bullying at those schools? Any hidden statistics on suspensions? Hmmm. The inside of the DOE is a hive of political orchestrations to deceive.
on August 22,2013 | 05:36AM
thos wrote:
“Strive HI”, PHOOEY! More jargon laced shibai the gullible snake oil consumers are expected to take at face value so the obscenely overfunded DOE can continue doing business as usual - - tap dancing away from anything that even remotely looks like accountability.
on August 22,2013 | 08:23AM
Steve96785 wrote:
Just how does this jive with two previous reports based on ACT data. Yesterday we were told that only one-quarter of grads were college ready, and that Hawaii scores were below the national averages. Seems like this has been spun to make the situation sound a lot better than it really is. Watch out for statements coming out of Strive HI which will make for a rosy picture and what a great job the 100 new DOE administrators are doing. In reality, they have done virtually nothing other than waste tax payer dollars and further bloated the DOE administration.
on August 22,2013 | 08:47AM
Makua wrote:
Where is it written or said that all students must go to college? Bill Gates went to higher learning but dropped out because he was not challenged in the area he wanted to know more about. Punahou can teach any student to pass the ACT, but is that what the student wants? Further education is not necessarily the number one item on every graduating HS senior. To me education is important and the more you have the more choices you will have as you travel through life. Education can occur outside of college.
on August 22,2013 | 10:05AM
Kaleo744 wrote:
Really do you you really need a degree today? really? please I know of kids just coming out of High School making $75 and up I know of a lot of college degree people who are making just minimum....and we wonder why 1/3 of the HS graduate are not prepared for college? College doesnt mean what it use to be.. Im a college graduate and Im not even doing what I studied for, but Im making over 100K in which 39% goes to taxes...and Im sure being middle class the percentage will increase....my advice for high school grads...get a job ,live with your parents dont pay rent and save your money and have a a good time...
on August 22,2013 | 11:29AM
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