ACT schedule confusion

Administration fails to convey testing information

The administration should have officially notified juniors that they would be taking the ACT and the ACT WorkKeys , in compliance with a mandate from the WI Department of Public Instruction.

On March 3, the juniors missed all of their first five classes to take the ACT. While this test has been scheduled on the District Calendar since the beginning of the year, many juniors did not know that they had to take the ACT until a few weeks before the test. Although the administration contacted parents weeks in advance, there was clearly a disconnect as many students were uninformed.

On March 4, the juniors took the ACT WorkKeys instead of attending their morning classes. Most juniors said that they did not know what the ACT WorkKeys was, nor that they were taking it, until March 2.

The juniors had to miss two full days of their morning classes for the ACT and ACT WorkKeys. During the WKCE, students not taking the examination do not attend school. This time, classes were held without the juniors, meaning that the juniors had to make up any classwork, homework and tests outside of school.

Additionally, the administration should have informed the juniors of any additional schedule changes caused by the ACT.

The juniors missed fourth hour on February 17 in order to fill out ACT registration information, such as classes taken during high school and a career interest survey. Certain teachers said that they did not know about the juniors’ absence until the day of the survey. Many juniors said that they were unaware that they would have to miss class until they heard the announcement that day.

The juniors were required to fill out the ACT registration information in the auditorium. Some juniors expressed concern about this environment’s disorganization. They said that this, in addition to  the lack of desks and the seats’ proximity to one another, made it difficult to write their answers.

The administration’s failure to notify the juniors of their obligation to complete the ACT and ACT WorkKeys, and the schedule changes caused by these tests, made some juniors choose to opt out of taking either examination. By law, these students are allowed to opt out of the tests, but their scores count as zeroes when computing SHS’s averages.

As part of the new state accountability system, every school receives a report card measuring student achievement, student growth, closing learning gaps and post secondary readiness, among other things. When students choose to opt out of taking either examination, they lower SHS’s average scores, which in turn reduces SHS’s accountability index, which could eventually decrease SHS’s funding from the state.

If the administration had publicized the juniors’ required ACT date more clearly, the students who chose to opt out of the examinations may have had more time to prepare for the tests and may have decided to take them so that their scores did not count as zeroes in the computation of SHS’s average. More importantly, juniors would not have had to undergo the stress of missing classes and having to make up two days’ worth of classwork, homework and tests.

“60% of colleges say that test scores are of ‘considerable importance’ as a factor in student admissions,” wrote U.S. News and World Report. 95% of colleges say they either require SAT or ACT for admission or say they are test optional.”

by Ripples

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