Fewer than 40 percent of seniors ready for college-level work, NAEP analysis says

Fewer than 40 percent of the nation’s high school seniors have the mathematics and reading skills necessary for entry-level college work, according to a new analysis of scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Only 39 percent of 12th-graders have the math skills for basic college work and only 38 percent have the reading skills, according to the analysis released Wednesday by the National Center for Education Statistics. The analysis is based on 12th-graders’ scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP. The test, also called The Nation’s Report Card, is administered by the federal government every four years and is considered the only source of nationally representative student achievement data over time.
This is the first year the 12th-grade test included an analysis of how well students are prepared for college. Researchers based their estimate on the number of students who scored 163 or above – out of a possible 300 – on the math section, and those who scored 302 or above, out of a possible 500, on the reading section.
“The results are in, and unfortunately, they are lackluster,” said David Driscoll, chair of the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for NAEP, in a statement. “But it is only by knowing these sobering data that we can build the sense of urgency needed to better prepare students for higher education.”
The 12th-grade test was taken by a representative sample of 92,000 students across the country. National results were released last week, along with the results for 11 states that are participating in an voluntary pilot program and receive additional information about their students’ scores. California scores were not reported individually.
Overall, the national results were stagnant: Scores in reading averaged 288 and math scores averaged 153; both scores were identical to those reported in 2009.
Michelle Maitre covers career and college readiness. Contact her and follow her on Twitter @michelle_maitre. Sign up here for a no-cost online subscription to EdSource Today for reports from the largest education reporting team in California.
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