Kansas students perform better than the national average when preparing for college-level courses, and the trend is slightly up. But the portion of students ready for college-level work is still low.
In its national report, ACT defines “college and career readiness” as: “ACT has long defined college and career readiness as the acquisition of the knowledge and skills a student needs to enroll and succeed in credit-bearing first-year courses at a postsecondary institution (such as a two- or four-year college, trade school, or technical school) without the need for remediation.” Expanding on that, the report states: “Empirically derived, ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks are the minimum scores needed on the ACT subject area tests to indicate a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75% chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding first-year credit-bearing college courses.”
Not all students take the ACT test. According to the report for Kansas, “23,628 of your graduates, which is an estimated 79% of your graduating class, took the ACT.” Generally, the students that take the ACT are those considering future education beyond high school.
How do Kansas students perform? The good news is that Kansas students perform better than the national average on each of the four subjects (English, reading, math, and science) that the ACT test covers. The chart below shows the performance of Kansas students compared to the nation:
Perhaps the most astonishing number on this chart is the number 28. That’s the percentage of Kansas students who are ready for college-level work in all four subjects the ACT test covers.
While this result was slightly better than the national average, it means that nearly three-fourths of Kansas high school graduates need to take one or more remedial college courses. <
The trend over time has improved slightly, although not in all subject areas. From 2007 to 2009 the percentage of students ready for college work in all four subject areas was 26 percent. It has now improved to 28 percent.
While Kansas performs better than most states and the trend is slightly upward, the results of the ACT test should be a wake-up call for those who believe Kansas schools are doing well. Those who defend the Kansas government monopoly on the use of public funds for education need to defend these figures.