The Condition of College and Career Readiness, (Iowa City, IA: ACT, 2010)

This analysis of the 2010 results from ACT’s college admissions assessment reveals the proportion of assessed students who are prepared for college-level work in reading, English, math, and science. (That means having at least a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher in a first-year credit-bearing college course, or a 75 percent chance of getting a C.) As in earlier years, the findings are distressing: Fewer than a quarter of students met these college-readiness benchmarks in all four subjects, while 28 percent didn’t meet a single benchmark, and an additional 15 percent met only one. On the up side, the report did reveal a strong correlation between taking a core liberal arts curriculum in high school—four years of English and three years each of mathematics, science, and social studies— and meeting the benchmarks. Students who took additional courses beyond that core were even likelier to attain the benchmark scores. These data underscore the fact that all students need a rigorous, content-rich curriculum that is grounded in high standards—and the fact that we have a long way to go before all of them are truly “college and career ready.”

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