A Major Crisis in College Readiness for Black Students
Filed in Breaking News on September 5, 2016
According to a new report, the American College Testing Program’s ACT college admissions test was taken by 2,090,342 students in the high school graduating class of 2016. This is a 25 percent increase since 2012.
In 2016, 272,363 Black students who were in the high school graduating class took the ACT test. This is up from 222,237 Black student test takers in 2012.
For the 2016 high school graduating class, the average composite score for Black test takers on the ACT was 17.0. (The ACT is graded on a scale of 1 to 36.) The average score for Blacks was lower than for any other racial or ethnic group including American Indians, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders. The average composite score for Whites in 2016 was 22.2. The average score for both Blacks and Whites dropped slightly in 2016. The racial gap in ACT test scores has remained relatively stable for decades.
Some 73 percent of all White ACT test takers were rated as achieving a benchmark score which demonstrated that they were ready for college-level English classes. Only 33 percent of Black students reached the college-readiness benchmark in English. In mathematics, 50 percent of Whites were deemed ready for college-level mathematics, compared to just 13 percent of Blacks who took the ACT. In sciences, 46 percent of White ACT test takers were deemed ready for college-level coursework compared to 11 percent of Blacks.
Some 34 percent of Whites who took the ACT test were deemed college ready in all four areas of English, mathematics, reading, and science. For Blacks, only 6 percent of all test takers were deemed college ready in all four areas.