Mississippi Public Universities
IHL Press Release
ACT REPORT FINDS MORE MISSISSIPPI STUDENTS READY FOR COLLEGE WORK
8/17/2011 - Jackson, Miss.

More members of Mississippi’s class of 2011 stand a better chance of graduating from college and going on to successful careers, according to a report released today by ACT, Inc. in their report, The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2011. When compared to the 2010 numbers, the annual report shows that:

  • 397 more students are ready for English Composition
  • 256 more students are ready for College Algebra
  • 153 more students are ready for college social studies classes.

However, while 102 fewer students are ready for College Biology, 128 more students are ready for all four college courses.

“Mississippi’s future depends on having an educated citizenry,” said Dr. Hank M. Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education. “Through increased rigor on the K-12 level and a greater emphasis on retention and graduation on the university level, students have a greater opportunity to succeed in college and contribute to our state as the workforce and leaders of the future.”

The report provides a snapshot of the college and career readiness of ACT-tested high school graduates. ACT defines college readiness as the acquisition of the knowledge and skills a student needs to enroll and succeed in credit-bearing first-year courses at a post-secondary without the need for remediation. ACT has determined the benchmark scores for success in college to be:

  • College English Composition: 18
  • College Algebra: 22
  • College Social Science: 21
  • College Biology: 24

A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or approximately a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course. Mississippi’s average scores are:

  • English: 18.6
  • Mathematics: 18.2
  • Reading: 18.8
  • Science: 18.7
  • Composite: 18.7

“Because our lowest composite score is in mathematics, we have partnered with the Mississippi Department of Education to develop ways to incorporate college readiness standards for mathematics into the K-12 curricula,” said Dr. Al Rankins, Associate Commissioner of Academic and Student Affairs.

Mississippi public universities also offer a number of services, including tutoring, mentoring and remediation to help students succeed in college. Through a system-wide initiative, several Mississippi universities participated in a pilot program to redesign courses with the goal of improving instruction and increasing passage rates in lower-division courses, thus lowering the costs to the students and removing a roadblock to college completion.

Universities also have First-Year Experience Programs and residential learning communities to help students adjust to college classroom expectations.

“Increasing postsecondary degree attainment is a critical need in our state,” said Dr. Bounds. “As our enrollment continues to increase, we are focused on ensuring that our students succeed in completing their degrees.”

A copy of the full report can be found at www.act.org/readiness/2011.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.