Latino students lag behind in college readiness
They’re enrolling at an increasingly high rate. Some 83 percent of Latino high school students who took the ACT test last year said they intended to go on to college.
But according to a new report conducted by ACT and Excelencia in Education, they might not be as prepared for it as their peers.
Of those test-taking Latinos, 47 percent failed to meet even one of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. These benchmarks specify the minimum scores students must earn across four subjects — English, math, reading and science. Students who meet the benchmarks are more likely to not only succeed in higher education, but go on to earn a degree.
So what this means is that nearly half of all Latinos who took the test aren’t likely to succeed on even a C-level at an accredited university.
In the 2014-2015 school year, students of color (Latino, African American, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander students) made up the majority of kindergarten-through-high school students in public schools nationwide. This is the first time its ever happened in U.S. history.
So why are they testing so much worse than their peers?
For context, the number of ACT-tested Latinos has increased by nearly 80 percent from 2010 to 2014 (from 157,579 to 281,216 students). One of every four public school students is Latino in the United States, and you can expect the number to keep rising for people of color in general.
“Latino students continue to make progress, but more must be done,” said Deborah Santiago, COO and vice president of policy at Excelencia in Education. “Schools need to provide Latino students access to rigorous coursework, implement more student support services and involve parents in early interventions. Investing in Latinos at an earlier age increases college knowledge, improves preparation and sparks student interest in growing fields where we need talent, such as STEM.”
Moreover, ACT and Excelencia’s report suggests that Latinos are showing some progress in the long term.
Over the last fiver years, the percentage of Latino students meeting all four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks has increased from 11 to 14 percent.
“The overall trends might also be showing some improvement in reading and science,” the report said. “The last two years have seen slight declines in English and math, but readiness in both areas remains higher than in 2010 despite the substantial increase in the number of students tested.”