Florida

Putting Education Reform To The Test

Last Year’s High School Grads Not Expected to Do Well in College This Year

Arthur Schneider / Flickr

A new report projects just 18 percent of the 2012 high school graduates in Florida who took the ACT test would do well in first year college courses.

Florida students aren’t as prepared for college as students in other states.

That’s according to this year’s Condition of College and Career Readiness report released Wednesday.

It looks at ACT test scores to project how well high school grads would do in first year college courses.

About 70 percent of Florida’s graduating class took the ACT test — 118,420 students total — but only 18 percent of those test-takers are considered college-ready.

The national average of college-ready students is 25 percent.

Florida’s average score was among the lowest of all states — only Arizona, Mississippi and Tennessee did worse.

Here are the percentages of college-ready students by subject area test.

  • English: Florida: 57%  Nation: 67%
  • Reading: Florida: 46% Nation: 52%
  • Math: Florida: 37% Nation: 46%
  • Science: Florida: 22% Nation: 31%

Braulio Colon is executive director of Florida C.A.N — an underwriter of StateImpact Florida.

In a media release, he said students and teachers should be celebrated for increasing participation by in the college-entrance exam — which is up 26 percent since 2008.

But he called the report a reminder that Florida needs to raise its academic standards and quality of instruction.

“These results underscore the disconnect between the aspirations of our graduates and the academic performance necessary to succeed in postsecondary education,” Colon said.

According to the report, African American students in Florida are the least prepared for college — scoring lower than any other racial and ethnic group in each of the subject area test.

Colon says Florida’s education system should not create a disparity among different groups.

“Regardless of race or socioeconomic status, we should expect all Florida high school graduates to be college and career ready,” he said.

How the ACT Determines “College Readiness”

The ACT determines college readiness by setting benchmark scores in all its subject area tests -  in English, reading, math and science.

If a student scores an 18 or higher on the English portion of the ACT, the ACT projects there’s a 50 percent chance that student will get a B or higher in a first year English Composition college course — and a 75 percent chance the student will get a C or higher in that course.

The reading score benchmark, 21, determines how well students will do in a first year Introductory Social Studies college course.

The math score benchmark, 22, determines how well students will do in a first year Algebra college course.

The science score benchmark, 24, determine how well students will do in a first year Biology college course.

In Florida, 68 percent of last school year’s high school graduates scored low enough to be considered “at risk” of not succeeding in college.

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