IOWA - Many Hispanic students lag behind their peers in college readiness, though they aspire to attend college at similar rates, according to a new report released today by ACT and Excelencia in Education.

The report, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014: Hispanic Students, shows that 83 percent of Hispanic students reported planning to enroll in college, though nearly half of these ACT-tested 2014 high school graduates – 47 percent -- met none of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. In comparison,  about one-third--31 percent -- of all ACT-tested 2014 high school graduates met none of the four ACT College Readiness benchmarks .

These findings are particularly significant given the large proportion of Hispanic students in the U.S. Across the nation, one in four public school students are Hispanic, and their numbers will continue to increase in the years to come. Students of color (Latino, African American, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Native American students) became the majority of students in the U.S. public K-12 schools in the 2014-15 school year.

“Finding ways to better serve Hispanic students and enhance their educational opportunities is closely tied to our nation’s overall progress,” said Jim Larimore, ACT chief officer for the advancement of underserved learners. “As more of these students take the ACT, we gain a better understanding of the urgent need to provide them with more rigorous, quality academic preparation.”

Despite the limited college readiness among Hispanic students, the report’s five-year trend data suggest Hispanic students are making gains in some areas:

•  From 2010 to 2014, the percentage of students meeting all four college readiness benchmarks has steadily increased from 11 to 14 percent.

•  In STEM-related subjects, the percentages of Hispanic students meeting benchmarks rose from 14 to 21 percent in Science and 27 to 29 percent in Math.

For both Reading and English College Readiness Benchmarks, however, Hispanic students either stagnated or fell further behind:

•  The percentage of Hispanic students reaching the Reading Benchmark fell to a five-year low, at 29 percent in 2014 compared to 34 percent in 2010.

•  While 47 percent of Hispanic students met the English readiness benchmark, this rate has remained virtually unchanged for the past five years.

“Latino students continue to make progress, but more must be done,” said Deborah Santiago, COO and vice president of policy for Excelencia in Education. “Schools need to provide Latino students access to rigorous coursework, implement more student support services, and involve parents in early interventions. Investing in Latinos at an earlier age increases college knowledge, improves preparation, and sparks student interest in growing fields where we need talent, such as STEM.”

The research-based ACT College Readiness Benchmarks specify the minimum scores students must earn on each of ACT’s four subject tests (English, math, reading, and science) to have about a 75 percent chance of earning a grade of C or higher in a typical credit-bearing first-year college course in the corresponding subject area. ACT research suggests that students who meet the Benchmarks are more likely than those who do not to persist in college and earn a degree.

The ACT/COE report uses data from the more than 1.8 million ACT-tested 2014 high school graduates. During ACT registration, students are asked to provide information about parental education, high school course taking and postsecondary aspirations. Students who reported that neither parent attended any type of postsecondary training were classified as first-generation students for the analysis in this report.

The report is available at:

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ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as the nation’s leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality achievement assessments grounded in more than 50 years of research and experience. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions that help people succeed from kindergarten through career, providing insights that unlock potential. To learn more about ACT, go to



Ed Colby, ACT Public Relations


Release Date
Thu, 06/25/2015 - 1:05pm
Iowa City, Iowa