Posted by: Gregory Linton | 11/07/2018

ACT® reports College Readiness Benchmarks results from 2018 tests

Each year, ACT® provides a report on “The Condition of College and Career Readiness” that analyzes how many test-takers achieved the College Readiness Benchmarks. Benchmarks are scores for each of the four parts of the test that represent the level of achievement required for students to have a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or aboCover page for ACT reportut a 75% chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding credit-bearing first-year college courses. The Benchmarks are as follows: English = 18; Reading = 22; Math = 22; Science = 23; STEM = 26.

In 2018, 1.9 million high school graduates took the test. Only 27% of test-takers exceeded the benchmarks in all four subjects. Only 38% met at least three of the benchmarks, which is down from 39% last year. Thirty-five percent met none of the benchmarks, which is up from 33% last year. Only 20% met the STEM Readiness Benchmark of 26, which is down from 21% last year. The average Composite score was 20.8, which is down from 21.0 last year.

The report also breaks down by race/ethnicity how many high school graduates met three or more benchmarks: Asian American (62%), White (48%), Hispanic (24%), Pacific Islander (22%), American Indian (14%), and African American (11%). The report defines “underserved learners” as first-generation students, self-identified minorities, and low-income students. Only 15% of graduates who meet two of those criteria met three or four benchmarks, and only 10% of those who meet all three criteria met three or four benchmarks.

Test-takers are asked to select a major, from a list of 294 majors, that they plan to pursue (p. 10). One-fourth of test-takers did not indicate a major or selected Undecided. Schools who are planning to add new programs may want to consider the most frequently selected majors. The report list the following 28 most frequently selected majors. The majority are in STEM fields or health-related fields:

  1. Nursing, Registered (BS/RN)
  2. Medicine (Pre-Medicine)
  3. Business Administration and Management, General
  4. Biology, General
  5. Mechanical Engineering
  6. Computer Science and Programming
  7. Criminology
  8. Law (Pre-Law)
  9. Physical Therapy (Pre-Physical Therapy)
  10. Accounting
  11. Engineering (Pre-Engineering), General
  12. Biochemistry and Biophysics
  13. Psychology, Clinical and Counseling
  14. Psychology, General
  15. Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineering
  16. Athletic Training
  17. Elementary Education
  18. Marketing Management and Research
  19. Veterinary Medicine (Pre-Veterinarian)
  20. Computer Engineering
  21. Graphic Design
  22. Medical Assisting
  23. Health-Related Professions and Services, General
  24. Finance, General
  25. Pharmacy (Pre-Pharmacy)
  26. Civil Engineering
  27. Biomedical Engineering
  28. Political Science and Government

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