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ACT/UNCF Survey Finds Many Black Students Are Not Ready for College

college students studying2_0Education and training at higher education institutions are still the tickets to a high-paying job in America, but a new study has revealed Black students might have a hard time succeeding at college. The survey, by ACT and the United Negro College Fund, found two-thirds of Black students failed to meet college readiness benchmarks.

“The ACT benchmarks measure students’ college readiness in English, reading, mathematics and science,” said Business Insider. “Even when African-American students successfully complete the high school coursework intended to prepare them for college, the report found, they are still unlikely to meet these benchmarks.”

“ACT has consistently found that students who take the recommended core curriculum in high school are more likely to be ready for college and career than those who do not,” said an ACT press release. “But among African-American students who took the recommended core curriculum (four years of English and three years each of math, science and social studies), the percentage meeting benchmarks in each of the four subject areas was lower than for any other group of underrepresented students.”

According to the ACT/UNCF report, 62 percent of Black students met none of the college readiness benchmarks, compared to 31 percent of all students.

Black students scored poorly in reading (19 percent,) math (15 percent) and science (11 percent), according to Business Insider.

“Just 5 percent of African-American students hit all four benchmarks, and 62 percent achieved none,” said Business Insider.

Black students test scores were well below overall test scores. According to ACT, overall 67 percent of students reached the benchmark for English, 47 percent for reading, 46 percent for mathematics, and 41 percent for science. ACT gathered information from 1.8 million who took the ACT in 2014.

According to ACT, educators and parents need to put a lot of time and energy into preparing Black students for higher education.

“The ACT report offers several recommendations for schools to increase African-American students’ college readiness: increasing the rigor of high school core courses; monitoring student performance beginning in the early grades; and making academic interventions with students who are off target as soon as possible,” said Business Insider.

A White House official said the report should be used as a tool for teachers and parents to decide how to improve the education system.

“Supporting the learning and development of African-American students is essential to ensuring that we reach the president’s goal to once again lead the world in postsecondary educational attainment,” said David Johns, director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. “The report highlights data and recommendations that should be used to improve the programs, policies and practices used to increase student success — both in school and in life.”

Dr. Michael L. Lomax, CEO and president of the UNCF, said the report showed Black students realized the importance of higher education, but often didn’t have the adequate preparation to make it in college. Eighty-six percent of Black students surveyed said they planned on earning a post-secondary degree.

“The findings of this report demonstrate that a vast majority of African-American students desire a postsecondary education, but they’re clearly not prepared for it. We must work together to bridge that gap from aspiration to reality by providing quality education and policies focused on college readiness,” Lomax said.

In related college news, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Statistics, found some Black students are rejecting Ivy League schools in favor of smaller colleges that are closer to home.

“Blacks apply for college at a rate equal to whites, yet they’re more likely to seek out colleges and universities where kids from their high school have been successful as well as schools with a substantial number of Black students,” said Yahoo! News. “Meanwhile, Black and Latino students are far more likely than whites to pick a campus near their families.”

It’s unknown what the long-term effects of this will be. Black students who opt to attend smaller colleges will likely graduate without six-figure debt loads. But they might miss out on making powerful connections made from rubbing shoulders with the children of America’s elite at Ivy League schools.

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