Information Brief 2012-33

ACT College Readiness Benchmark Attainment by Family Income Level and Completion of the ACT-Recommended Core Curriculum

Socioeconomic status is related to academic success such that high-income students also have higher levels of academic achievement compared to low-income students. However, by completing a high school core curriculum that includes 4 or more years of English and 3 or more years each of mathematics, science, and social studies, low-income students can increase their achievement levels.

The chart below illustrates that by completing the ACT-recommended core curriculum, students, regardless of income, increase their likelihood of meeting 3 to 4 ACT College Readiness Benchmarks.

Percentage Meeting 3 or 4 ACT College Readiness Benchmarks by Family Income Level and Core Curriculum Completion

Chart showing percentage of students meeting 3 or 4 ACT College Readiness Benchmarks
Family Income LevelNon-CoreCore
Less than $36,00011.6%24.11%
$36K–$100K26.55%46.46%
Greater than $100K46.19%65.47%

Note: Data based on 1,193,255 ACT-tested 2012 high school graduates who reported annual family income and provided course-taking information.

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