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ACT Releases 2009 Condition of College Readiness

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As an appropriate follow-up to my blog entitled, College Preparation Courses: The “Quality” in the “Qualifications” May Not Be Enough, ACT, the Iowa testing organization, has recently released the 2009 Condition of College Readiness. The purpose of this report is to determine the overall readiness of students entering into college-level courses based upon ACT testing measurements of 2009 high school graduates’ academic performance.

The report is broken down into several headings: Access and Preparation, Academic Performance, College Readiness, Education/Career Aspirations, and Policies and Practices to Increase College Readiness. In order for the report to benefit you as the student or as the concerned parent, there are several points that you should make note of of involving the report:

College Readiness Benchmarks

There are four College Readiness Benchmarks that represent the minimum score necessary on an ACT subject-area test: English, Reading, Math, and Science. If a benchmark is obtained, it signifies the likelihood of a student earning a C or higher in the equivalent college-level course.

“Empirically derived—based on the performance of students in college—a College Readiness Benchmark is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75% chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding first-year credit-bearing college course. These college courses include English Composition, College Algebra, an introductory social science course (e.g., History, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, and Economics), and Biology.”ACT Condition of College Readiness, 2009

Unfortunately, according to the report, since 2005 in the least, only one in four or 23% of students met all four benchmarks, 15% met 3, 18% met 2, 16% met 1, and a whopping 28% percent met none.

Academic Performance

While claimed by many that core curriculum is not bearing enough weight when it comes to preparing students for college, the 2009 Condition of College Readiness report showed that students who did not take core curriculum scored nearly three points lower in all four benchmark categories.

Resources: How to Increase College Readiness

At the end of the report, ACT lists several tips on how to increase the condition of college-level readiness. With statistics showing 75% of students not meeting the amount of benchmarks needed to perform well academically at college, further preparation and resources are essential. There are also notes that include options for pre-secondary ACT testing and expectation guidelines that lay groundwork for better testing and high school performance.


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