Are Only 1 out of 4 Freshmen Ready for College?

Last Updated Aug 17, 2011 1:39 PM EDT

Are teenagers, who are heading to college in the fall, going to be able to succeed academically?
For most students, it doesn't look like it. That's the discouraging conclusion of the latest college readiness report released by the ACT testing juggernaut.

Only one out of four high school graduates in the Class of 2011, who took the ACT test, managed to meet or exceed the basic skills necessary to succeed in all four of these areas:
The results, according to the ACT, suggests that 75% of new college students won't be able to master these basic freshmen courses - college algebra, English composition, introductory social studies and biology - without remedial help.

The latest crop of high school students fared the best with English including grammar. Sixty six percent met or exceeded the college readiness benchmark in English. Barely half (52%) of high school grads met the reading benchmark, while far fewer students showed proficiency in math (45%) and science (30%). Twenty eight percent of the test takers -- 49% of of the nation's graduating seniors took the ACT -- failed to meet any of the benchmarks.

Who's to Blame?

I think there is plenty of blame to spread around for these dismal numbers. Mediocre teachers, apathetic students, uninvolved parents and the failure of the federal No Child Left Behind Act would be prime candidates.

What's really shocking is that so many kids emerge from high school unprepared to do college level work without anybody raising concerns. Too many teenagers and parents, I suspect, assume that if the kids are earning at least a "B" then everything is okay.

The average student in the US is graduating from high school with a "B" average. The latest ACT results show what a farce that is.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and the Shrinking the Cost of College workbook. She also writes her own college blog at The College Solution.

More on CBS MoneyWatch:

SAT and ACT: Which is the Better Test?
Get Into These 39 Top Colleges With Bad SAT and ACT Scores
College readiness image by goodimages. CC 2.0.

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