Chances are you’ve taken or at least heard of the ACT: a test most colleges expect high school students to take. ACT test scores can indicate whether a student is likely to earn a certain grade in first-year college courses. According to a study they published recently, only 25% of students who take the test are prepared for college.
That’s a bit frightening, no? What kind of nightmare is it for a student to go to college unprepared?
The good news, though, is that as parents we can take some action to help our kids get ready. Here are ACT’s suggestions:
- 1. Know the essential expectations of a core curriculum. Some states have adopted Common Core State Standards, but many colleges and universities expect incoming students to have taken more than the state’s requirements. Be certain that your student is working toward the requirements of his or her intended college, even if those differ from the requirements of the school or state. ACT recommends a minimum of four years of English, and three years each of mathematics, science, and social studies.
- 2. Encourage students to take challenging high school courses. A key determiner of college readiness is not just the number of courses taken in high school and grades earned, but the rigor and standards applied to performance in those classes.
- 3. Intervene early. Gaps in foundational skills and knowledge are best remediated in upper-elementary and middle school, so that students can undertake more advanced learning and effectively prepare for college in high school.
- 4. Pay attention not just to academic readiness, but to behavioral readiness and education and career planning – an emphasis on scores and test results alone cannot guarantee that a student will be well-prepared for college.
Here are the results of the study.
Earnest Parenting: helping parents get their kids prepared for college.