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September 27, 2013

(flickr/ashleysalazar)

Efforts to increase access and success in higher education for underrepresented students appear to have stagnated. Fewer than half of those students who took the SATs in the class of 2013 are prepared for college-level work, a new report shows.

The College Board, which manages the college entrance exam, says only 43 percent of those who took the test received a total score of 1550 or higher out of 2400.

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stateline reports:

According to the College Board, students who score at least 1550 are likely to earn a grade point average of B- or above in the first year of college. The percentage of students deemed ready for college has remained essentially stable over the last five years... College Board President David Coleman said the stagnant scores should be considered a call to action.

“We must dramatically increase the number of students in K-12 who are prepared for college and careers,” Coleman said. “Only by transforming the daily work that students do can we achieve excellence and equity.”

And NPR’s Claudio Sanchez reports underrepresented students have less access to more demanding honors and Advanced Placement courses, although more low-income students are taking the entrance test.

This year only 15 percent of blacks and 23 percent of Latinos met or exceeded the SAT benchmark for college and career readiness. Jim Hull, senior policy analyst with the National School Boards Association, says that's a serious problem.

But, he says, "what I would tell our school board members is to look at other indicators as well beyond just the SAT score to determine if, in fact, their schools are preparing students for college. The SAT is a very important piece of information, but it is just one piece of the puzzle."

All this week, World Channel has been airing documentaries about the high school graduate rate and student performance.

Here's a preview of "180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School," which features a young principal in her second year as head of a school in Washington D.C.

higher ed, college, increasing access and success, access, college readiness, success, SAT

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