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Assessment News in Brief

Most Seniors Unprepared for College, NAEP Analysis Finds

By Liana Loewus — May 19, 2014 1 min read

The governing board for “the nation’s report card” concludes in a new analysis that only 39 percent of 12th graders are prepared for entry-level college courses in math and 38 percent are ready in reading.

The announcement came a week after a fresh set of National Assessment of Educational Progress data, for 2013, showed no change in seniors’ average scores in either reading or mathematics, as compared with 2009, when 12th graders were last tested.

The National Assessment Governing Board analysis unveiled last week seeks to shed light on what those scores mean for students’ academic preparedness for college.

NAGB set a cutoff score for the level of achievement a student must reach to be considered academically prepared for college. In math, students must score at least 163, on a 300-point scale, to be considered prepared for college; in reading, they must score 302, on a 500-point scale.

In 2013, the average scores for the nation were 153 in math and 288 in reading.

NAEP has long used a proficiency score indicating whether students are successful with challenging content. The academic-preparedness score set by NAGB is the same as the proficiency score in math. In reading, it is 13 points below the proficiency score.

The governing board determined the academic-preparedness scores by reviewing more than 30 studies over a 10-year period. The studies looked at whether the content on NAEP is aligned with other tests, such as the SAT and the ACT; the relationship between performance on NAEP and other tests; and cutoff scores on college-placement tests, among other factors.

A version of this article appeared in the May 21, 2014 edition of Education Week as Most Seniors Unprepared for College, NAEP Analysis Finds

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