Don’t panic over ACT results

R ecently released college-readi- ness results for this year’s crop of high school graduates do little to inspire confidence in American public education.

But neither, however, should they stir panic.

Headlines from last week’s release of the 2013 American College Test scores screamed out that a paltry 25 percent of college-bound high school seniors had the necessary skills in English, science, math and reading to enter college.

The data serve as the latest reinforcement that students today are nor performing on par with students from yesteryear on rigidly constructed standardized tests. They reinforce the need for stronger math, language arts and science success, much as many other education barometers have done for years now.

Americans can take additional solace in knowing that more and more states are requiring all high school students — not just college-bound students — to take the ACT. That large sector of students who have absolutely no interest or aptitude for college artificially and heavily weigh down the results.

When looking more reasonably at the results, one finds that a full 75 percent of this year’s test takers are competent in at least one major skill area of the test. While that’s not ideal, neither is it frightening. Nor should it be used as an indictment of public education, which in recent years has achieved limited success in dealing with the very problems the latest batch of ACT results reinforce.

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