ACT Report: Massachusetts Top While Michigan Struggles
The ACT College Readiness Report provides a snapshot of the ACT-tested graduates in each state, focusing on their readiness for college and career success.
Using the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks and ACT test scores, the Condition of College & Career Readiness reports provide national and state snapshots of college readiness of the graduating seniors of the class of 2011 who took the ACT in high school.
The ACT Profile Reports present data about the performance of each state’s 2011 graduating seniors who took the ACT as sophomores, juniors, or seniors.
Analyzing the report, Deborah Netburn at the LA Times says that only one-fourth of seniors ready for college.
“ACT has determined that students need to reach a certain score in each of the four areas covered by the test — science, math, reading and English — to be considered likely to be successful in college. Reaching that score suggests the student has a 50% chance of earning a grade of B or higher, or a 75% chance of earning a C or higher in a typical college course.”
More than 1.6 million high school graduates took the ACT this year — or 49% of the entire U.S. graduating class. Of the total number of students who took the test, just 25% met or surpassed all four of the ACT college readiness benchmarks, writes Netburn.
“In other words, just one-quarter of American students are ready to go to college after graduating high school. And that’s an improvement over last year. About 28% of graduating high school seniors did not meet the benchmark in any of the four subject matters. An additional 15% met the benchmark in just one subject.”
The Milford Daily News reports that according to ACT, Massachusetts’ graduating class of 2011 outpaced the rest of the nation. The state’s 14,975 test-takers had an average composite score of 24.2 out of a possible 36, about 3 points higher than the national average of 21.1.
“These results are yet another confirmation that our students are leading the nation in academic achievement,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “We continue to aggressively pursue reform efforts to close achievement gaps in our schools, and will work to ensure that every high school graduate has the skills they need to be successful in both college and career.”
However, Michigan struggled.
Though more students are up to par on state tests, tougher standards led more Michigan school districts to miss federally mandated academic progress last school year, writes Justin A. Hinkley at the Battle Creek Enquirer.
Battle Creek Public School and Albion Public Schools were among 37 Michigan districts that failed to meet “adequate yearly progress” mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. To make AYP, schools must show each year that more of its students test “proficient” or better in math and reading on state tests. As targets rise every year toward a 2014 goal for 100 percent of students to be proficient, more schools are missing the cut, the state said. State curriculum also has toughened in recent years.
Michigan was one of several states that asked the U.S. Department of Education to waive the mandates of NCLB. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said he’ll grant waivers to states that enact administration-backed reforms, but Congress has said he lacks such authority.
Arne Duncan acknowledged that American students are making “incremental” progress toward being able to complete college work, but said:
“These ACT results are another sign that states need to raise their academic standards and commit to education reforms that accelerate student achievement.”
Jon Erickson, the interim president of ACT’s education division, was a bit more positive:
“Although growth has been slow, it’s been consistent. Things appear to be moving in the right direction.”
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