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Crisis at the Core: Preparing All Students for College and Work


This report explores the relationship between student participation in high school core-course-work and student success in college. With one in four students dropping out of college in or after their first year, ACT has examined patterns of core-course taking in high school as a general predictor of college-readiness and college success. On the one hand, the report says, rather simplistically, that high school students with solid course work in English, Mathematics, and Science are much more likely to be prepared for, and succeed in, college. On the other hand, the report details a wide range of high school course taking patterns and provides disaggregated statistics for whites, blacks, hispanics, asian-americans, and native americans, as well as breakdowns between males and females. The report also includes charts with "college readiness" standards / benchmarks for critical topic areas such as algebra, biology, and English.

The report notes that under-preparedness for college is a significant problem that cuts across income brackets and ethnic groups, but minority students are far less likely to experience success in college.

Those interested in curriculum development, math and science proficiency, minority achievement, college readiness, workforce development, and other pipeline issues may be interested in reading the executive summary and/or the full report.