Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida College Entry Exam Scores Slip; ACT Results Suggest Many Florida Students Will Struggle with College Classwork

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida College Entry Exam Scores Slip; ACT Results Suggest Many Florida Students Will Struggle with College Classwork

Article excerpt

Byline: BETH KORMANIK

College-bound students in Florida and across the country are leaving high school unprepared for college-level studies, according to ACT entrance exam scores released today.

The data revealed a slight drop in scores among Florida students. The company did not release information from area school districts but some districts made the information available.

Nearly 1.2 million students nationwide from the Class of 2005 took tests in English, math, reading and science. The tests measure skills and knowledge taught in schools that are considered essential for first-year college students.

Test officials also provided minimum scores that students should attain to show that they are prepared for college. Students who reach these benchmark scores have a high probability of earning a C or higher in first-year college courses.

But many students are missing the mark.

Only 21 percent of Florida students met the standard in science, compared with 26 percent nationwide.

And only 37 percent of Florida students met the standard for math, compared with 41 percent nationally.

Nearly half of Florida's students would struggle with courses that require extensive reading, such as history, sociology, literature and business, close to the national average, according to the testing data.

Sixty-four percent of Florida students did meet the benchmark in English. That's compared with 68 percent nationally.

The scores suggest that many Florida students will struggle with college classwork or will need remediation. Remediation rates are "astronomical," said Ross Wiener, policy director at the Education Trust, an independent non-profit organization that promotes high academic achievement.

"Many students who follow all the rules and pass all the tests in high school and get good grades get to college and find out they are woefully unprepared for college-level work," Wiener said.

But it's not too late for students who are not prepared for college, he said. …

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