Texas high school graduates showed only slight improvement in college readiness on the ACT this year, with 27 percent of test takers meeting readiness benchmarks in English, math, reading and science, as reported by Terrence Stutz, in the Dallas Morning News.
In 2014, 26 percent of test takers met or surpassed a standard that the ACT says indicates likely success. As we all know, selective institutions take these scores seriously.
Overall, ACT scores for Texas seniors this year were identical to last year in all subjects except math, where there was a slight decline. Texas students were strongest in English—with 59 percent meeting the benchmark, and weakest in science, with 38 percent scoring at or above the standard. A total of 124,764 Texas seniors took the ACT, which measures competency in core subject areas—about 41 percent of the class of 2015, the article reports.
Many observers are disappointed, according to various media outlets. One can certainly dispute the validity of the ACT, and find fault with standardized exams generally. Authorities in the field also tend to believe that scores go down with higher numbers of students taking the exam. And Texas has improved its high school graduation rates dramatically in recent years (that's another controversy), which undoubtedly means more individuals headed for college and taking the test.
However, such exams do tend to predict statistically whether students will succeed in higher education.
Nationally, 28 percent of students met the college readiness standards in all four subject areas. “The needle is barely moving on college and career readiness, and that means far too many young people will continue to struggle after they graduate from high school,” said ACT chief executive Jon Whitmore. “This should be a wake-up call for our nation.”
Among large states, Texas students did better than those in Florida and Illinois, but scored below students in California and New York, the article reports.