ACT Policy Alert
A Call for Stronger High School Preparation for College and Work

Students Meeting College Readiness Benchmarks (2004)Many high school graduates do not have all of the skills they need to succeed in college-level coursework or workforce training.Our new report, Crisis at the Core: Preparing All Students for College and Work, shows that only 22% of the 1.2 million ACT-tested 2004 high school graduates met all three of the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks in English, Math and Science.

As a nation, we can no longer allow students to graduate from high school unprepared for college and work.A high school graduate who is not prepared for college is not prepared for today's workplace, either.Our research clearly demonstrates a strong positive relationship between the amount and kind of high school courses students take and their readiness for college.The more courses students take and the more challenging those courses, the more likely these students will be college and work ready and will graduate from college.

Furthermore, certain specific courses — such asBiology, Chemistry, Physics, and one or more mathematics courses beyond Algebra II — have a startling effect on student performance and college and work readiness.And all students benefit from taking these courses, regardless of race, gender, family income, or current level of achievement. Students do not have to take honors or advanced placement courses to be ready for college and work.

You have a critical role to play in preparing all of our high school students for the future.

We look to you for leadership in shaping policy that:

  • Raises expectations, from a very early age, that all students can meet college and workplace readiness standards
  • Focuses the curriculum in every high school on readiness standards for both college and work
  • Evaluates and improves the quality and intensity of core and advanced courses in high schools, to make sure that they emphasize the skills students need
  • Requires all students be prepared for and to take challenging and rigorous high school courses, taught by highly qualified teachers
  • Incorporates college and workforce readiness measures into statewide school improvement systems

Ensuring that all students...To advance this shared goal we will be partnering with school districts throughout the country in Ready to Succeed, a demonstration project that will examine and improve course rigor, instruction, and college/work readiness of students.

Learn more. . .

Crisis at the Core: Preparing All Students for College and Work
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    Full Report
    Executive Summary
    Action Plan, Educators/Policymakers
    Action Plan, Business/Community leaders
    Visit ACT's For Policymakers

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