Information Brief 2013-21

Mathematics Courses Taken and ACT College Readiness Benchmark Performance in Math

As part of a core curriculum, ACT recommends students complete three or more years of mathematics courses. Ninety-three percent of the 2012 ACT-tested high school graduates took at least three years of mathematics courses.

Students who completed at least three years of mathematics courses were more likely to meet the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in Mathematics compared to those who completed less than three years of mathematics coursework. For instance, 69% of students who completed algebra I, algebra II, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus met the Mathematics Benchmark; whereas, only 8% of students completing less than three years of mathematics coursework met the Mathematics Benchmark.

Percent Meeting the Mathematics Benchmark by Mathematics Courses Taken

Mathematics CoursesStudents Meeting Mathematics Benchmark
Algebra I and II, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus69%
Algebra I and II, geometry, trigonometry, and other advanced math58%
Algebra I and II, geometry, and trigonometry34%
Algebra I and II, geometry, and other advanced math36%
Other combination of 4 or more years66%
Algebra I and II, geometry12%
Other combination of 3 or 3.5 years35%
Less than 3 years8%
No math reported22%

Note: Data are based on 1,666,017 ACT-tested 2012 high school graduates.


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