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® Impact of Literacy on College Readiness and Success Cynthia B. Schmeiser Middle Grades Literacy Forum September 28-29, 2006 ACT Research What do we know about middle school students’ literacy skills? How do these skills impact college/work readiness and success?

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®

Impact of Literacy on College Readiness and Success

Cynthia B. Schmeiser

Middle Grades Literacy Forum

September 28-29, 2006


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ACT Research

  • What do we know about middle school students’ literacy skills?

  • How do these skills impact college/work readiness and success?

  • What can we do to improve readiness?


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Data Sources

  • 640,000 8th- and 9th- grade students who took ACT’s EXPLORE program in 2005-06

    • 50% female

    • 50% male

    • 35% minority students


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How Do We Define College Readiness in Reading?

  • Based on actual success students experience in credit-bearing college social science courses

  • Directly tied to ACT College Readiness Standards

  • Define the knowledge and skills students need to attain to be college ready


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ACT’s College ReadinessBenchmarks in Reading

  • EXPLORE PLAN ACT

  • (8-9th) (10th)(11-12th)

  • Reading 1517 21


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Current State of College Readinessin Literacy: Middle School Students

Not enough middle school students are on target to be college ready in reading when they leave high school.

Only 43 percent of our nation’s 8th-9th grade EXPLORE-tested students are on target to be ready for college-level reading.


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Current State of College Readinessin Literacy: Middle School Students

For some groups, substantially fewer students are on target to be ready for college-level reading.

Julie: Please insert graph from national report on page 3. Ask Dan Vitale for this.


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Current State of College Readinessin Literacy: 2006 High School Grads

  • Only 53 percent of the 1.2 million 2006 ACT-tested high school graduates are ready for college-level reading.

Only 10% more of the class of 2006 was actually ready for college-level reading than is projected for the class of 2010.


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What Happens When We TrackSame Students Over Time?

More eighth- and tenth-grade students nationally are on target to be college ready in reading than are actually ready when they graduate from high school.


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What Happens When We TrackSame Students Over Time?

A decline in the percentage of students who are actually ready for college-level reading occurs between the 10th and 12th grades.


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Literacy: Does it Matter?

Middle school students who are on target in reading are significantly more likely to be on target to be ready in other areas.


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Literacy: Does it Matter?

Students who are on target in reading are most likely to be on target in English, math, and science.


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Literacy: Does it Matter?

Of those 2006 EXPLORE students who did NOT meet the EXPLORE Reading Benchmark:

Students who are NOT on target in reading in middle school are significantly more likely NOT to be on target in English, math, and science.

  • Only 40% are on target in English

  • Only 15% are on target in Math

  • Only 1% are on target in Science


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Literacy: Does it Matter?

Students who are college-ready in reading are more likely to :

College readiness in literacy has a direct impact on college success.

  • Enroll in college (74% vs 59%)

  • Earn college course grades of B or better (63% vs 36%)

  • Earn college GPAs of 3.0 or higher (54% vs 33%)

  • Return for the second year at the same college (78% vs 67%)

Reading Between the Lines, ACT 2006


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Why are Students Losing Momentum in High School?

  • Students are not being asked to meet rigorous reading standards within the content areas in high school.

  • Not enough students are being exposed to complex text materials like those they will encounter after high school.


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Why are Students Losing Momentum in High School?

  • Only 28 of the 40 states with standards fully define grade-level standards in reading only through the eighth grade.

  • Overall, nearly 60 percent of states do not have grade-specific standards that define the expectations for reading achievement in high school.


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What Really Matters in College Readiness in Reading?

Performance on complex texts appears to be the clearest differentiator between students who are more likely to be ready for college and those who are less likely to be ready for college.


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So What Can be Done?

  • Recommendations:

    • Begin monitoring college readiness early and identify students who are not on target to become college ready.


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So What Can be Done?

  • Recommendations:

    • Revise state standards to specify grade-level reading expectations that:

      • Are aligned with college readiness standards

      • Detail college readiness expectations so that teachers can implement them

      • Define the type of complex reading to be incorporated into all courses


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So What Can be Done?

  • Recommendations:

    • Align state assessments with state standards that are based on college-level reading expectations.


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®

Impact of Literacy on College Readiness and Success

Cynthia B. Schmeiser

Middle Grades Literacy Forum

September 28-29, 2006


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