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ACT Report: Mismatch Between Student Interests and Job Projections


August 27, 2013


ACT Report: Mismatch Between Student Interests and Job Projections

By: Robert LaBounty and Catherine Imperatore

2013 ACT-tested graduates continue to struggle to meet ACT's benchmarks for readiness, while expressing little interest in STEM and fast-growing career fields. These findings were highlighted in ACT's most recent publication on The Condition of College and Career Readiness.

ACT tests measure students' knowledge in English, reading, math and science against established benchmarks. In 2013, 26 percent of test takers met the benchmark in all four subjects. In addition:

  • 64 percent met the English benchmark
  • 44 percent met the reading benchmark
  • 44 percent met the math benchmark
  • 36 percent met the science benchmark

The report also looked at educational and career aspirations. As expected, the vast majority of students tested wanted to achieve at least a bachelor degree. However, it appears that students were not particularly interested in the projected fastest-growing career fields. In the education, computer/information specialties and marketing/sales sectors, the projected demand for jobs will be more than twice the supply. In addition, there was also a lack of interest in STEM majors and occupations, with only about one in 10 students indicating interest in STEM.

As you know, high-quality CTE has the potential to improve student academic engagement and achievement through the integration of academics with contextualized, hands-on learning. CTE also emphasizes the need to explore how students' talents may best lead to career success through career guidance and labor market information.

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