WASHINGTON (AP) -- The testing company ACT says just a quarter of this year's high school graduates who took the ACT tests have the reading, math, English and science skills they need to succeed in college or a career.
The numbers are worse for black high school graduates: Only 5 percent are fully ready for life after high school.
The results indicate that thousands of students graduate from high schools without the knowledge necessary for the next steps in life.
The data also show a downturn in overall student scores, although company officials attribute the slide to updated standards and more students taking the exams -- including those with no intention of attending two- or four-year colleges.
The president of ACT's education division says students' readiness leaves a lot to be desired.