16 percent of eighth graders are on target to be ready for college-level work by the time they graduate from high school, according to "The Forgotten Middle," a new ACT report.Parents can take steps today to ensure their students are making progress toward academic and vocational success.

16 percent of eighth graders are on target to be ready for college-level work by the time they graduate from high school, according to "The Forgotten Middle," a new ACT report.

Further, being ready by eighth grade is more important to college readiness than anything that happens academically in high school.

But there's no reason to take this sobering news sitting down. Parents can take steps today to ensure that their students are making progress toward academic and vocational success.

Focus on key subjects such as reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social sciences. Your student needs a foundation in all these areas to succeed in college or work. Monitor your student's academic progress beginning in elementary school. If he/she falls behind, take immediate action to help bring them up to academic speed. Find a tutor or provide additional help at home. For those families who qualify, a federal program called Supplemental Educational Services offers free tutoring to students. For more information, you may visit: http://www.ed.gov/nclb/choice/help/ses/index.html Get to know your child's teachers and school counselors. Meet with them to discuss your child's progress. Where does your child excel? Where does he/she need help? Teach students early about good work and study habits. Hold them accountable for turning in work on time, attending class, and being attentive and respectful.
ACT's report, "The Forgotten Middle," is available for viewing and free downloading on ACT's website at the following address: http://www.act.org/path/policy/index.html.

ACT is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides over one hundred assessment, research, information, and program management services in the areas of education and workforce development. Each year, ACT serves millions of people in high schools, colleges, professional associations, businesses, and government agencies nationally and internationally.

Though designed to meet a wide variety of needs, all ACT programs and services have one guiding purpose to help people achieve education and career goals.