ACT Study Shows African American Students Trailing in College-Readiness

According to a new report from the ACT and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF)  62 percent of graduating African American students who took the ACT met none of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, which is twice the rate for all students (31 percent). Moreover, fewer African American students who took the recommended core classes in high school met the ACT benchmarks compared to other underrepresented groups.

"To help African American students, we need to improve the quality of education they are receiving," said Jim Larimore, ACT chief officer for the advancement of under-served learners, in a press release. "The report shows that even when they are doing what they are supposed to do-in terms of taking the recommended college preparatory curriculum and earning a high school diploma-too many lack sufficient preparation for first-year college courses. We clearly need to do more to ensure that students with the aspiration and will to go to college are prepared to succeed when they get there."

Recommendations include:

  • Advance college and career readiness through a renewed focus on teaching and learning.
  • Set clear performance standards to evaluate college and career readiness.
  • Implement a high-quality student assessment system.
  • Support programs targeted at developing behaviors that aid students’ academic success.
  • Provide all students with access to a rigorous high school core curriculum.
  • Invest in early childhood education programs so that more children are ready to learn.
  • Implement policies for data-driven decision making.

Read the report The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2014: African American Students, ACT & UNCF (July 2015).

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