An alarming rate of African-American students in the high school graduating rate of 2016 are not “college-ready” in the areas of math, English, reading and science, according to a new report by the American College Testing Program.

Among the 272,363 Black students in the 2016 high school graduating class who took the ACT test, only 6 percent were deemed college ready in all four subject areas. Meanwhile, 34 percent of White test takers achieved the benchmark scores denoting college preparedness in all four subjects.

The gaps persisted in the individual subject scores.  In English, about 73 percent of all White ACT test takers were deemed ready for college-level coursework, compared to 33 percent of Black students. In mathematics, 50 of White students attained scores demonstrating readiness for college-level mathematics; only 13 percent of Blacks who took the ACT did. In sciences, 46 percent of White ACT test takers achieved benchmark scores indicating preparedness for college-level courses compared to 11 percent of Blacks.

Black students in the 2016 graduating class also lagged in overall ACT scores. The ACT is graded on a scale of 1 to 36. The average composite score for Black test takers in 2016 was 17.0—the lowest of any racial or ethnic group. The highest average score—24.0–was registered by Asian test takers. The average composite score for Whites was 22.2.

Overall, 2,090,342 students took the ACT college admissions test in 2016, a 25 percent increase over four years.


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO