Test results made public Wednesday show only 23 percent of the 2011 graduating class from public and private high schools met college readiness standards in English, reading, math and science.
The graduates appear to be least prepared for college science courses. Only 28 percent of the 2011 Illinois graduating class scored high enough to predict they may get a "C" or better in the typical college freshmen biology course.
Gabrielle Lyon of Project Exploration, an out-of-school science program, told the Chicago Sun-Times the science results are frustrating but also a call to action. She says Illinois, with two national laboratories, has what it takes to turn those scores around.
Nationwide, a record 1. 62 million students in the class of 2011 took the ACT. That's nearly half of all high school graduates.
SAT results have not been released yet.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)