Fewer than Half of 2012 High Schools Grads Ready for College

The SAT Report of College and Career Readiness, released by The College Board, the company that administers the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) used by colleges to assess student knowledge and potential, finds that less than 45% of current high school graduates have the skills necessary to succeed at college-level work. The information, drawn from the SAT results of students who graduated high school in 2012, shows that 43% of the students met the standards that correlate to a high likelihood of college success set out by the SAT College & Career Readiness Benchmark.

Research has shown that those who meet the benchmark are more likely to not only attend college but maintain a high grade point average, more likely to stay in school after the first year and more likely to graduate on time.

“This report should serve as a call to action to expand access to rigor for more students,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton. “Our nation’s future depends on the strength of our education system. When less than half of kids who want to go to college are prepared to do so, that system is failing. We must make education a national priority and deliver rigor to more students.”

The SAT Benchmark score of 1550 indicates a 65 percent likelihood of achieving a B- average or higher during the first year of study at a four-year college.

The results for the graduating class of 2012 were consistent with that of students who graduated the year before. According to the College Board, there’s a strong link between rigorous Common Core-compliant high school curricula and an increase in SAT scores. Since the SAT is meant to measure the level of knowledge obtained by the student over the course of their high school career, it is understandable that a good high school program will lead to better SAT results. It is also why the SAT is a good measure of college readiness, since a strong curriculum combined with effective implementation will produce graduates who are prepared for college-level academic work.

When students are better prepared for college, they are more likely to do well in college, more likely to stay in college and more likely to graduate from college — the keystone of our efforts to sustain American competitiveness and prosperity long into the future.

The College Board has been a strong supporter of the board Common Core adoption because the company believes that when implemented well, the Standards will provide a strong educational base for college success. The company has not only been an advocate for the Common Core, but also has provided input into the development of the standards, including assisting in drafting the College and Career Readiness Standards that have served as a foundation.

The College Board is committed to helping states and districts understand how to implement these new common standards. The SAT is aligned to the Common Core State Standards as well or better than any assessment that has been developed for college admission and/or placement. The College Board will continue to invest in and is committed to building deeper alignment to ensure the SAT reflects the key components of the CCSS.