The 2019 ACT scores, which are supposed to measure “college readiness,” dropped to a record low. 

This follows nine years after the release of the Common Core State Standards, which were supposed to promote “college and career readiness.”

Nick Anderson of the Washington Post writes:

ACT scores for the high school Class of 2019 show that rates of college readiness in English and math have sunk to record lows, testing officials reported Wednesday.

Among nearly 1.8 million in the class who took the college admission test at least once, ACT — the nonprofit group that administers it — reported that 59 percent reached a score indicating readiness in English and 39 percent did so in math. Those results continued a several-year slide. The English readiness rate was the lowest since the readiness measure debuted in 2002, and the math readiness rate equaled a record low set in 2002.

ACT defines its readiness benchmark as a score indicating a student has at least a 50 percent chance of getting a B or higher in a corresponding first-year college course. For English, the ACT benchmark is 18 out of a maximum 36. For math, it is 22.

When students took a strong course load through high school, ACT found, they fared better.

“Our findings once again indicate that taking core courses in high school dramatically increases a student’s likelihood for success after graduation,” ACT chief executive Marten Roorda said in a statement. “That’s why we need to ensure that all students of all backgrounds have access to rigorous courses and that we are supporting them not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well.”

The ACT — one of two major admission tests — assesses students in English, reading, math and science with multiple-choice questions that take nearly three hours to complete, not counting an optional essay-writing exam. More than a dozen states pay for all high school students to take the ACT during school hours, and others fund the testing on an optional basis….

Among 15 states where officials said nearly all graduates took the test, only four posted an average composite score of 20 or higher: Nebraska, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin.


Education activist Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, commented:

This ACT report along with stagnant or dropping NAEP scores provides a devastating indictment of the Gates/Coleman/Duncan Common Core reform agenda – which was supposed to have provided the opposite result.  And yet Duncan doesn’t acknowledge this in the WaPost (big surprise).
College Readiness levels in English, reading, math, and science have all decreased since 2015, with English and math seeing the largest decline.
States and districts have spent billions of dollars to adopt the Common Core standards–on new textbooks, new tests, new professional development, new technology, all aligned to the Common  Core.
The same amount might have been devoted to reducing class sizes, putting a nurse in every school, increasing teachers’ salaries.
The definition of a corporate reformer is someone who never admits he or she was wrong. They apparently live by the John Wayne credo of “never apologize, mister, it’s a sign of weakness.”
In this case, however, it might be a good sign to let educators adapt to the students in front of them rather than follow a script written in D.C. that is not working.