The report said that based on Michigan Department of Education analyses, the majority of college-bound seniors may need at least one remedial class or are at risk of failing college English, social studies, algebra or biology.
For example, of the 5,428 graduates in the Kalamazoo area, fewer than 900 tested as "college-ready" in all four core academic subjects, The Gazette reported. ACT spokesman Ed Colby told The Gazette that the testing company compares actual college success rates with students' previous ACT scores, enabling it to predict the scores needed to earn at least a "C" in college classes.
"People should be concerned," Penny Bundy, admissions director at Western Michigan University and a former ACT official, told The Gazette. "The ACT assessments are very credible, they have longitudinal data to back it up, and they've looked at this issue again and again and again."
Michigan's new, stiffer high school graduation requirements should result in higher ACT scores in coming years, Joseph Martineau, of the Michigan Department of Education, told The Gazette. Other education officials pointed to students who have succeeded in college despite ACT scores that fell below the "college-ready" level.
Urban districts and very small districts appear to have the lowest college-readiness levels, The Gazette reported, some as low as 10 percent. Colby told The Gazette that a recent ACT study showed that college success can be predicted by grades and test scores earned in eighth grade.
The Kalamazoo Gazette, "Only 16% of state grads 'college-ready;' Most high school students lack adequate skills in at least one subject, ACT shows," Aug. 9, 2009
Michigan Education Report, "Will a state-mandated high school curriculum of 18 credits ensure better-prepared students in the 21st Century? No"
Michigan Education Report, "Study: Over $600 million per year for remedial ed," Nov. 1, 2000