State News
4:43 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

ACT Says Most Florida Students Not Ready For College

Fla. ACT scores trend lower than the national average.
Fla. ACT scores trend lower than the national average.
Credit vtdigger / Flickr Creative Commons

    

Florida’s graduating highschoolers aren’t as prepared for college as their peers around the nation, according to college admissions test results released Wednesday. But, the downward trend isn’t unique to Florida.

A perfect score on the American College Test, or ACT, is a 36.  Last year, Florida students averaged a 19.6 -- lower than the national average of close about 21. But, the Florida Department of Education’s policy expert Jane Fletcher pointed out the state’s scores usually trend lower because more kids take the test in Florida than do nationally.

“We have a pretty high percentage of students that take the ACT. We have about 74% of the students that take the ACT and nationally that’s only about 54%. So, that could be one of the differences,” Fletcher said.

But Florida students fall even further behind when considering what the ACT calls “college readiness,” – a slightly higher set of scores used to judge how well students will fare after high school. The testing administrator says only 19% of Florida students tested as college ready, compared to about a quarter of students nationally ACT spokesman Steve Kappler explained those scores are designed to measure how well graduating seniors will do upon matriculation to college.

“Each year we do a thorough review of students that are progressing into post-secondary education and look at their success rates in those first year freshman courses, related to the score that they received in the subject level on the ACT,” Kappler said.

Kappler also says scores are down across the board because of the inclusion of what education officials call “accommodated test scores,” – those tests taken by students with disabilities. Before 2012, those scores were excluded from the overall averages.