Preparation: Improvements, Declines, and Gaps in Performance*

Since the early 1990s, most states have improved in many areas of preparing students for college, including increasing the percentage of eighth graders scoring well on national math, science, and writing exams. However, not all states have improved on these national exams, and many states have declined on the national reading tests. In addition, improvement has not occurred in other important areas, such as the percentage of young adults graduating from high school within four years. The nation continues to experience disparities in educational performance by race/ethnicity and by state of residence.

Key Indicator: Percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds with a high school credential

Improved    34 states improved or stayed the same on the key indicator Decline    16 states declined on the key indicator

Other Improvements

9th to 12th graders taking at least one upper-level science course

Texas  20% to 56%
West Virginia 24% to 46%
South Carolina 21% to 36%
Iowa 28% to 47%

8th graders scoring at or above “proficient” on the national assessment in math

North Carolina 12% to 34%
Louisiana 7% to 19%
Arkansas 10% to 24%
Mississippi 6% to 14%
Massachusetts 23% to 51%
South Carolina 15% to 32%

8th graders scoring at or above “proficient” on the national assessment in science

Louisiana 13% to 19%
Delaware 21% to 29%
South Carolina 17% to 23%
Kentucky 23% to 31%

Low-income 8th graders scoring at or above “proficient” on the national assessment in math

Georgia 3% to 12%
Kentucky 4% to 15%
Louisiana 3% to 11%
South Carolina 5% to 18%
Massachusetts 7% to 25%
Mississippi 2% to 7%
Texas 6% to 21%

Number of scores in the top 20% nationally on SAT/ACT college entrance exams per 1,000 high school graduates

South Carolina 67 to 152
Massachusetts 138 to 263
Vermont 114 to 216
Georgia 94 to 177
West Virginia 84 to 157

Number of scores that are 3 or higher on an Advanced Placement subject test per 1,000 high school juniors and seniors

South Dakota 14 to 108
Arkansas 18 to 99
North Dakota 14 to 72
Minnesota 31 to 137
Wisconsin 42 to 164

 

Declines

8th graders scoring at or above “proficient” on the national assessment in reading

New Mexico 24% to 17%
West Virginia 27% to 23%
Arizona 28% to 24%
Connecticut 42% to 37%
Maine 42% to 37%

 

Gaps

18- to 24-year-olds with a high school credential

  Whites Blacks
Illinois 95% 82%
Kansas 93% 79%
Michigan 91% 80%
New York 95% 85%
     
  Whites Hispanics
Arizona 93% 69%
California 95% 75%
North Carolina 92% 56%
Texas 93% 74%

 

* These indicators enable states to compare their current performance with past performance.