ACT and Other Standardized Test Preparation
I was afforded the opportunity to attend an ACT workshop last week and have some updated infomration to pass on regarding the ACT, ACT preparation, and alignment with College and Career Readiness Standards.
According to ACT, the percentage of students retaking college admissions test like the ACT is rising. Because of this, many colleges and universities are examining their process of score acceptance and how to summarize multiple scores with no prior guidance explained. A study performed by Harvard and ACT looked at the validity and reliability of different scoring approaches associated with multiple tries. The score reporting approaches they looked at were average of all scores, last score report, highest score report, and superscoring (highest in each subsection). More research is to follow to ensure that students who attend post-secondary institutions are prepared for the level of rigor expected.
Due to the fact that differnt institutions have their own sets of acceptance criteria, most still require some sort of standardized test score. This is why we still offer the ACT at Father McGivney and why we ask that all students have a standardized test score before graduation.
ACT aligns their assessment with College Readiness Benchmarks which, if a student attains a certain benchmark score on the ACT, predicts tehy will have a 70% chance or higher of obtaining a 'C' in that particular subject in college. This is a predictor of ability with college level coursework. The current benchmark scores are as follows: English - 18, Mathmatics - 22, Reading - 22, Science - 23, ELA (English/Language Arts combined score) - 20, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math combined score) - 26. In addition to the ACT assessment, they also author the ASPIRE which helps to predict success in high school. ACT has said that currently "80% of 8th graders do not have the knowledge and skills to move on to high school" and the ASPIRE will give authentic and relevant information to support such.
For our current students, we do offer the ACT to our Junior class in February. This assessment is given on our campus and registration is conducted by sending in a check to me, Mrs. Madura, after she sends an email to the entire Junior class students and parents. The cost of the assessment has not yet been communicated to me, but I will send that out when it does.
The most beneficial information from the seminar for you as students and parents was the announcement that ACT has partnered with Kaplan to provide affordable test preparation, ACT has their own Online Preparation, and finally there is an official ACT Prep Guide. These resources can be found on www.act.org. In addition, sample test questions can be found on www.act.org/theact.
The sophomores should be looking to sign up for an ACT before their Junior year. They can do this blind to see where their strengths and challenges are, then seek out targeted test preparation to help improve their knowledge and their scores. Juniors, you should plan on taking the ACT in February at McGivney. More information including costs will follow in a few weeks. Juniors, start thinking about college visits and plan some for the winter or spring, it is always best to visit in the middle of the week to actually get a feel of what the campus is like.
As always, if you have questions please contact me.