Fotosearch_Test_Taking_26734Lots of folks seem to think that the ACT is easier than the SAT; it’s actually not, but the rumor may account for its recent increase in takers over the SAT. Indeed, in 2015, 59% of students–some 1.92 million of them–took the ACT. The results certainly don’t suggest an easy go for them, however–not in the least.

In fact, only 28% of all those kids met the benchmarks in all four subjects tested: English, reading, math, and science. That’s just 2% more than in 2014. Plus, a whopping 31% failed to meet any of those four benchmarks. That translates to almost one-third of the class of 2015 who took the ACT, and is unchanged from the year before.

It breaks down this way:

  • 64% scored well on the English section
  • 46% did well on the reading section
  • 46% did well on the math section
  • 38% did so on the science section

Even more discouraging: A closer look reveals that only 6% of African-American students proved that they are, as they say, “college ready” across the board, according to the results, a mere 1% improvement over last year. As for Latino graduates, just 15% made the grade all around, 14% better than in 2014.

Meanwhile, before you look at teachers and put the blame on their shoulders, take a look first at what’s going on the home front. A 2003 Gallup Poll  found that just 28% of adults with children under 18 have family dinners every night of the week, and that’s down from 37% in 1997. And while it’s sort of good news that 47% said they gather around for dinner four to six times a week, 24%–almost one-fourth of them– admitted eating together three nights–or fewer–each week.

And don’t even get me started on the effects of poverty, our collective addiction to tech toys, the influence of pop culture, or how few people, kids or adults, bother to pick up a book on occasion.

I could go on, but you get the idea…