ACT scores count for more


Jamie Calnan, Life Editor

Changes are always being made to help better our school system. This school year, ACT scores will be featured into the school’s state report card.
As a result, teachers and administration are working hard to prepare students for the test.
“As a department we’re working really hard on giving students texts that they’ve never seen before and asking them to determine what is the tone of that passage, what’s the main idea, having them annotate it and also highlighting important things that will help them to understand it, so that when they get to the reading test on the ACT, they’ve practiced a lot in class,” English Department Chair Geoff Belcher said.
Under the new rules, our scores will be compared and ranked in relation to other WCPSS schools scores and other schools in the state.
“I have mixed feelings on the ACT score counting. On one hand, I understand that it is a common test that can be taken by all juniors in which scores can be compared for various subject areas. That can sometimes provide meaningful data for schools,” English III teacher Sarah Larsen said. “On the other hand, I think that it is somewhat difficult to evaluate scores from all students taking a college bound test, when in fact not all students are college bound.”
The issue of falling behind

other schools in the comparison of ACT scores does not worry teachers.
“In the past, we’ve been hanging in there with other schools. We might not have been way above, but we have at least been right around their average, and I’m hoping with all the prep we’re doing, especially in the English department, will push us up a little bit more compared to other schools,” Larsen said.
The English department, according to Belcher, did this type of preparation for half of the year last year, and students’ scores went up in both sections. This year, the department has been helping students prepare all year, so they are working longer and harder than ever before.
“We give students a chance to write an essay in class and get feedback from the teacher, and then we also let them read other essays and talk about them,” Belcher said.
Knowing that our scores will be in competition can be difficult for some students, but for other students it can be motivation for them to do better, so that we can compete with opposing schools.
“I’m hoping this change will affect the students in a good way. I’m thinking that when they’re exposed to some of the questions and writing prompts before hand, they kind of have a better look at what they might be seeing actually on the ACT, so there are no surprises hopefully,” Larsen said.
With this in mind, teachers believe that students will perform to the best of their abilities on the ACT.
“I think that students are without a doubt prepared for the ACT,” Larsen said. “Now we just have to hope the students from the fall Semester can retain the information until the ACT test day in the spring.”