According to new data, less than half of African-American, Hispanic, or Native American students met the ACT’s college readiness benchmark when taking the test in any subject area: English, reading, math, or science. African-American students were the least likely to meet all four: just 5 percent did, compared to a third of white students.
White students overall had much more success. Three-quarters met the benchmark for English, half for reading and math, and 45 percent for science. Asian-American students fared even better, as 43 percent met the benchmarks in all four categories.
American students have made very uneven progress overall in college readiness. Just a quarter meet the benchmark in all four subjects, with just a third meeting it in science. Some subjects have even seen a decline over the past few years: Since 2009, it dropped slightly in English from 67 percent of students to 64 percent and it also dropped in reading.
Native American students in particular have seen little improvement in their educational achievement gap as compared to white students. While African-American and Hispanic students have made progress in catching up with their white peers, the achievement gap between Native American students and white ones has actually widened.
Meanwhile, minority students who attend college continue to face a disadvantage. Students of color tend to be disproportionately concentrated in less selective and less well funded schools. That means white students are more likely to go on to graduate school and experience the better economic outcomes of attending more elite colleges.