The American College Testing Program recently released the results for 2014 high school graduating seniors who took the ACT college entrance examination. The ACT test is graded on a scale of 1 to 36. The average score for Black students who took the test was 17.0. For Whites, the average score was 22.3. The average scores and the significant racial gap in test scores have remained relatively constant over the past decade with only minor fluctuations.
The largest racial gap was on the English portion of the test. On that section the average score for Black students was 15.8. For Whites the average score was 22.0. The was also a large racial gap in the optional writing section of the ACT test with Blacks achieving an average score of 16.4, compared to the average score of 23.1 for Whites.
Only 34 percent of Black students who took the ACT test were deemed ready for college-level English courses. This is less than half the rate for White students who took the ACT. Only 14 percent of Black ACT test takers were deemed college ready in mathematics compared to 52 percent of White ACT test takers. One in 10 Black students who took the ACT were considered ready for college-level courses in science. For Whites, 46 percent were rated college-ready in science. One in 20 Black students were rated college-ready in all four areas: English, reading, mathematics and science. Whites were nearly seven times as likely as Blacks to be college ready in all four areas.
It must be noted that this data is only for those Black students who took the ACT college entrance examination and thus were considering enrolling in college. Presumably, these students are among the highest performers among the 2014 class of graduating seniors. It seems clear that public school systems in the United States are, for whatever reasons, doing a very poor job of educating the vast majority of the Black students who are enrolled in these schools.