Quarter of California high schoolers not ready for college 

One in four California high school students who took the ACT test last year were not ready for college, according to a report released last week by the company that administers the SAT alternative.

Though 23 percent of California students did not meet targets in any of the four subjects, 30 percent measured up in all four. And the state numbers were slightly better than the national figures, but they also were down slightly from California’s 2010 scores.

Click the picture to see a graph of how students are making the grade.

In a statement, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson acknowledged that the numbers were not ideal.

“While we’ve made some progress over the last few years,” he said, “today’s ACT report provides more evidence that California has some work to do to make sure every student graduates with the skills to succeed in college and the workplace.”

Jo Volkert, who heads the Office of Enrollment Management at San Francisco State University, said the test results seemed to reinforce what the university is seeing among students it enrolled.

“We know that students that come to our university, a certain percentage of them need to take courses to be ready for college,” she said. “Some need remediation in English; some need it in math.”

While Volkert did not have precise figures available, the numbers of students who have to take remedial courses has been going down, she said. That may be due in part to work the university has done with high schools to make sure their courses are really preparing students for college.

“There has been some improvement,” Volkert said. “There’s still a way to go.”

A quarter of the state’s 2011 graduates took the ACT, which is divided into math, science, English and reading sections. Colleges and universities treat the ACT as equal to the SAT, and it’s usually taken in 11th or 12th grade.


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