Information Brief 2013-27

ACT College Readiness Benchmark Attainment by Family Income Level and Completion of the ACT-Recommended Core Curriculum 2013

There is a relationship between socioeconomic status and academic success in that high-income students tend to have higher levels of academic achievement when compared with low-income students. However, by completing a high school core curriculum that includes 4 or more years of English and 3 or more years each of mathematics, science, and social studies, low-income students can increase their achievement levels.

The chart below illustrates that by completing the ACT-recommended core curriculum, ACT-tested 2013 high school graduates, regardless of income, increased their likelihood of meeting 3 to 4 ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. These results are consistent with prior findings from ACT-tested 2012 high school graduates.1

Percentage Meeting 3 or 4 ACT College Readiness Benchmarks by Family Income Level and Core Curriculum Completion

Family Income LevelNon-CoreCore
Less than $36,00011.07%23.6%
$36K–$100K25.46%46.03%
Greater than $100,00044.88%65.33%
All Students22.32%43.82%

Note: Data based on 1,270,910 ACT-tested 2013 high school graduates who reported annual family income and provided course-taking information.

1 See ACT Information Brief 2012-33.


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