Report: Only 1 in 4 U.S. high school graduates ready for college - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Report: Only 1 in 4 U.S. high school graduates ready for college

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Only a quarter of the nation's high school graduates are ready for college according to the company that administers the ACT test. How are Alabama graduates stacking up?

It's a race against the clock, bubbling in the answers, and with a lot riding on the results.

"Make a certain score, then that shows your probability of making a "C" or better in a college course is going to be higher," says Kamper Floyd, who teaches test prep courses.

The ACT tests for skills in English, reading, math and science. In 2012 only 20 percent of Alabama's students knew what they needed for college courses.  

[DOCUMENT: 2013 ACT Public Data Report]

Alabama students score, on average, a 20.4 on the ACT while the national average score was just under 21. Of the four benchmarks, Alabama students score below average in reading, science, and math. though they score above the national average when it comes to English. 

Floyd says most students aren't prepared for tests like the ACT.

"The bigger problem is that students aren't typically taught how to take a test. The content on the ACT is pretty standard. Most of the students that we see really do know the math. They know how to do it. If they had the time, they'd be doing a lot better."  

Auburn Montgomery's Dean of Enrollment says the problem is bigger. 

"Students are not prepared as a whole, coming to college," says Dean Tyler Peterson

Students, many colleges are coming to realize, are still kids.

"The reality of it is, at times, they are four years removed from being an 8th grader," Peterson explains.

The test scores, grades, the academics, they're all just part of the equation. There's much more that goes into preparing a student for college.

"There are great students on college campuses all over America that have great test scores," Peterson admits. "They had great GPAs in high school, but they just aren't college ready..."    

It's because they don't have the life-skills to handle what college demands.

"Interaction with faculty members, time management, money management," Peterson says, adding, " The transition is overwhelming. It's also whether or not they're willing to step up to the challenge of college."

Alabama is making progress, Peterson explains citing, "the new Common Core standards that will hold all schools accountable to a certain level..." He says that will help in college readiness and preparedness.

And colleges are making adjustments.

"We have changed what we're doing in order to meet the needs of the students coming in," Peterson says. 

But the tests required to get there aren't changing.

"The ACT is here. It's going to stay here for the long haul," Floyd says.   

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