While Many American Indian Students Cite High Education Aspirations, Few Pursue Postsecondary Education Plans

Posted March 12, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa—Most American Indian students—86 percent—want to further their education after high school, but the majority are not well prepared to succeed in college, according to a new report released today by ACT.

The report, The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2013: American Indian Students, shows that 52 percent of American Indian 2013 high school graduates who took the ACT® college readiness assessment met none of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks that indicate likely success in credit-bearing first-year college courses. That compares to 31 percent of all ACT-tested 2013 graduates who met none of the Benchmarks.

Only 62 percent of American Indian students completed the ACT-recommended core curriculum, lower than any other racial/ethnic group. On average, 74 percent of students completed a core curriculum.

Postsecondary enrollment among American Indian graduates is also the lowest of any racial/ethnic group who took the ACT. Though 86 percent of American Indian graduates indicate that they want to pursue some type of postsecondary education, only 54 percent of those students enroll in a postsecondary institution the fall immediately following high school graduation.

“The disconnect we see between postsecondary aspirations on the one hand and preparation and enrollment on the other is particularly pronounced in our research on American Indian students,” said Scott Montgomery, ACT vice president of policy, advocacy and government relations. “While these results paint a stark picture, they can help us all identify appropriate ways to improve success for these students.”

The research-based ACT College Readiness Benchmarks specify the minimum scores students must earn on each of ACT’s four subject tests (English, math, reading, and science) to have about a 75 percent chance of earning a grade of C or higher in a typical credit-bearing first-year college course in the corresponding subject area. ACT research suggests that students who meet the Benchmarks are more likely than those who do not to persist in college and earn a degree.

The ACT report used data from the approximately 14,217 ACT-tested 2013 high school graduates who identified themselves as being of American Indian race/ethnicity. During ACT registration, students are asked to provide information about race/ethnicity, high school course taking, and postsecondary aspirations.

The full report is available at: www.act.org/newsroom/data/2013/states/americanindian.html.