ACT Report Shows Wide Gap for Pacific Islander Students Between Educational Aspirations and Postsecondary Preparation

Posted May 08, 2014

Although 85 percent of Pacific Islander students in the United States aspire to earn a postsecondary degree, very few are academically prepared to reach that goal, according to a new report released today by ACT.

The report, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013: Pacific Islander Students, shows that 30 percent of 2013 Pacific Islander students in the U.S. met at least three of the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, lower than the 39 percent of all ACT-tested 2013 graduates. Similarly, 40 percent of Pacific Islander students met none of the four benchmarks, compared to 31 percent for all students.

While the vast majority of Pacific Islander students aspire to pursue higher education, 67 percent immediately enroll in some form of postsecondary education, and 69 percent of Pacific Islander students who complete their first year of postsecondary education persist to a second year.

“Tracking and reporting data and related findings for Pacific Islander students is an important first step in bringing greater attention to the specific challenges and academic needs of this group,” said Scott Montgomery, ACT vice president of policy, advocacy and government relations. “Though many Pacific Islander students are taking the appropriate courses to prepare for postsecondary education, this research shows that many of them are falling behind.”

Compared to nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of all ACT-tested graduates, 71 percent of Pacific Islander students completed the ACT-recommended core curriculum. ACT defines a core curriculum as four years of English and three years each of mathematics, social studies and science. ACT research shows that students who take this core coursework are more likely to be ready for college than those who do not.

The ACT report uses data from approximately 1.8 million ACT-tested high school graduates, 4,772 of whom identified their race/ethnicity as Pacific Islander. During ACT registration, students are asked to provide information about race/ethnicity, high school course-taking and postsecondary aspirations.

The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013: Pacific Islander Students report can be viewed and downloaded for free at: http://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2013/states/pacificislander.html.