The literature on college and career readiness consistently affirms the importance of starting college and career readiness in middle school, or even earlier. The recent ACT study, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014: Students from Low-Income Families confirms this assertion once again.

ACT determines if a student is college ready by his score on ACT subject area tests. Their benchmarks scores represent the 50% likelihood of obtaining a B or higher or a 75% likelihood of achieving a C or higher in a first-year college course. Among low-income students in 2014, 45% reached the benchmark in English, 26% reached the benchmark in reading, 23% reached the benchmark in mathematics, and 18% reached the benchmark in science. Only 11% reached the benchmark in all four subjects. 50% did not reach the benchmarks in any subject. The percentage of low-income students that reached 3 or 4 benchmarks has remained stagnant for the past five years.

ACT believes that the 2014 report is their most representative report of college and career readiness and high school students yet as it reflects a greater number of students, both college-going and not. With that in mind, ACT concludes that “overall, most students are not ready for the academic rigors of college, but low-income students are especially vulnerable.” It comes as no surprise, then, that ACT recommends that “we expand college access and readiness programs no later than the middle grades to monitor, support, and accelerate the academic growth of low-income students.”

To read the latest ACT report on Career and College Clubs, click here.

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