ACT Results Show a Huge Racial Gap in College Readiness

Last week we reported that over the past five years there has been a significant widening of the racial gap in scores on the ACT college entrance examination. But the most shocking statistics from this year’s ACT report are the percentage of black high school graduates who have achieved benchmark scores for college readiness. These statistics show what percentage of all test takers are adequately prepared for college-level study.

Some 35 percent of all blacks who took the ACT were rated as being adequately prepared for college English courses. For whites, the figure is 77 percent. In mathematics, only 14 percent of all black test takers achieved the benchmark score for college readiness. For whites, 54 percent of all students were deemed prepared for college-level study in mathematics. This is nearly four times the rate for blacks.

The largest racial gap in college readiness is in science. Only 6 percent of black ACT test takers achieved the benchmark score for preparedness in science. In contrast, 37 percent of white students, more than six times as many, were deemed capable of handling a college-level science curriculum.

Only 4 percent of black ACT test takers were deemed to meet the college readiness benchmark in all subjects. For whites, the figure was 31 percent.

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