National Tests Say Kids Aren't Prepared for College

By: CBS
By: CBS

Are your kids prepared for college when they get there?

National tests suggest many high school grads *aren't* ready for college-level work.

It's the annual mid-August ritual for college students: moving into their dorms.

But tests suggest an alarming number of high school graduates are arriving unprepared for college-level class work.

“I have always had a hard time with math and science,” said Jeanette Settembre, sophomore at Manhattan College. “Those are my two hardest subjects. I don't feel like i was prepared in those two subjects for when I went to college.”

Those are two-of-four subjects measured by the ACT, a test taken mainly in the Midwest and the South that measures if students know enough to pass first year college courses.

28 percent were unprepared to pass even one of the subjects the ACT measures – math, reading, English, and science.

“We've got a lot of work to do,” said Cynthia Schmeiser, President and COO of the Education Division of the ACT. “Especially in math and science.”

A lot. One recent study concluded high school students in 23 countries were outperforming U.S. students in math, students in 16 countries outperforming U.S. students in science, and 9 countries did better in literacy.

While some reformers encourage students to take harder courses in high school, others say the solution lies in a more comprehensive overhaul.

“We can't have a school day that's six hours,” said Mark Schneider, American Institutes for Research. “We can't have a school year that's 180 days. The time on task is one of the things that drives student success. Both our school day and our school year are far too short.”

Once they get to college the news is no more encouraging. 30 percent of students who start college in year one don't come back for year two.


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