About The Condition of College & Career Readiness

Since 1959, ACT has collected and reported data on students' academic readiness for college. This report provides a college and career readiness snapshot of the ACT-tested high school class of 2011.

What does ACT mean by “college and career readiness”?
ACT has long defined college and career readiness as the acquisition of the knowledge and skills a student needs to enroll and succeed in credit-bearing first-year courses at a postsecondary institution (such as a two- or four-year college, trade school, or technical school) without the need for remediation.
How does ACT determine if students are college ready?
Empirically derived, ACT's College Readiness Benchmarks are the minimum scores needed on the ACT subject area tests to indicate a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75% chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding first-year credit-bearing college courses. (See Notes for more information.)

Measuring academic performance in the context of college and career readiness—focusing on the number and percentages of students meeting or exceeding the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks—provides meaningful and compelling information about the academic readiness of students. The Condition of College & Career Readiness highlights that information.

The Condition of College & Career Readiness is organized into six sections:

ACT encourages educators to focus on trends (e.g., 3, 5, 10 years), not year-to-year changes, which can represent normal—even expected—fluctuations. Trend lines offer more insight into what is happening in a school, district, state, or the nation than can data from any single year.

Note: The data in this report are based on the ACT Profile Report—National: Graduating Class 2011. Except for the graphs on the Educational Aspirations by Race/Ethnicity and Number of Graduates Who Took the ACT by Race/Ethnicity pages, data related to students who did not provide information or responded "Other" to questions about gender, race/ethnicity, high school curriculum, etc., are not presented explicitly. Race/ethnicity categories are changed from previous reports to now reflect updated US Department of Education reporting requirements; trends to previous reports may not be available for all race/ethnicity categories.