From ACT, Inc. –

First-generation students are falling further behind their peers in meeting key college readiness benchmarks, according to a new report released today by ACT and the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE).

The report, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2015: First-Generation Students, showed that for the past five years, the percentage of first-generation students meeting ACT College Readiness Benchmarks in at least three of the four core subject areas (English, math, reading, and science), has dropped slightly—from 19 percent to 18 percent.

More than half of first-generation students—52 percent—met none of the benchmarks, remaining unchanged since last year.

First-generation students are defined as those whose parents did not receive any postsecondary education. Despite sliding achievement levels, nearly 80 percent of these students plan to pursue a four-year degree, with an additional 14 percent planning to pursue an associate’s degree.

Report findings include:

  • STEM interest: First-generation students with a declared interest in STEM majors or occupations performed better than their peers across all four readiness subject areas.
  • Science gains: Performance on the science benchmark has consistently been the lowest level of achievement for first-generation test takers—though over the past five years, the percentage meeting this benchmark has improved, from 12 percent to 18 percent.
  • Declines in English, reading, and math: In each of the core subject areas of English, reading, and math, readiness declined significantly over the past five years for first-generation students. From 2011–15, the percentage meeting the reading benchmark fell from 32 percent to 25 percent; in math, it slid from 25 percent to 21 percent; and in English, it dropped from 46 percent to 41 percent.

The full report can be found here.

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