Mississippi education officials suggested Tuesday that students should start taking college preparatory courses in the seventh or eighth grades if they want to be ready for entrance exams.
Educators at a news conference in Jackson said they are concerned that Mississippi ranked 50th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in scores on the American College Test.
Officials for kindergarten through 12th grade, colleges and junior colleges said there's no quick fix to raising the scores.
They say students and parents should start early thinking about their academic careers.
Officials say 86 percent of high school students took the ACT but only 43 percent were enrolled in college prep courses.