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ACT survey finds gap on college readiness

Heads up, high schools: Your graduates may not be as ready for college as you think they are.

New survey results from the ACT assessment organization, made public Wednesday, show a disconnect on the crucial question of college readiness. Eighty-nine percent of high school teachers surveyed said students who finished their classes were well or very well prepared for college work in those subjects.

But 26 percent of college instructors say incoming students are well or very well prepared for first-year courses, the survey found.

The results echoed previous findings in 2009, even though there has been intensive focus on college readiness in recent years.

“When high school teachers believe their students are well prepared for college-level courses, but colleges disagree, we have a problem,” Jon Erickson, ACT’s president of education, said in a statement. “If we are to improve the college and career readiness of our nation’s high school graduates, we must make sure that our standards are aligned between high school and college.”

ACT, based in Iowa City, surveys educators about curriculum every three to five years, to help guide its testing programs. The ACT college admissions test is a rival to the College Board’s SAT. This year’s study was based on a national sample of 9,937 educators, including high school teachers and college instructors, in English, writing, math, reading and science.

Nick Anderson covers higher education for The Washington Post. He has been a writer and editor at The Post since 2005.



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