Magazine article District Administration

Report: More Students Aspire to College, but Test Scores Lag

Magazine article District Administration

Report: More Students Aspire to College, but Test Scores Lag

Article excerpt

Record numbers of students are taking the ACT exam and expressing an interest in higher education--but scores on both the ACT and SAT are lagging, according to test administrators.

More than 1.84 million 2014 graduates--a record 57 percent of the national graduating class--took the ACT. This is a 3 percent increase from 2013, and an 18 percent increase compared to 2010, according to the ACT's annual "Condition of College & Career Readiness" report, released in August.

Though student aspirations are high, many are falling short of their goals: Some 87 percent of 2013 graduates who took the ACT said they wanted to attend college, but only 69 percent enrolled in a postsecondary institution that fall, the report found.

The gap may be partly due to students not having access to rigorous courses that prepare them for college, says Paul Weeks, the ACT vice president for client relations. "Our tests are oriented around college readiness standards that align strongly with the Common Core," Weeks says. "It's important that we set appropriate expectations for what skills are really needed for success after high school."

Less than half of the students who take the SAT are college-ready, says Kate Levin, a College Board spokesperson. "Even among those who are ready, most low-income, high-achieving students do not apply to the colleges within their reach," she adds.

SAT redesign

The ACT surpassed the SAT in number of test-takers two years ago. …

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