Since February, Smith-Cotton High School students have been taking eight minutes of their seminar on Wednesdays to practice drills designed to improve their ACT scores.
Ashley Raetz, the school’s testing coordinator, said the state of Missouri has implemented the ACT as the end of high school exam for all juniors.
“Our vision is aligned to meet the vision of the state,” Raetz said. “I think giving them exposure to similar test questions as well as the test-taking tips we provide, the combination of both of those will only help to improve students’ ACT scores.”
Seminar classes are 20 minutes long; the S-C testing committee arranged the practices to fit into the seminar time frame.
“I think the ACT drills can only help our students on all grade levels, 9 through 12, and I think introducing these weekly workouts will help students also understand the importance of taking the ACT,” Raetz said.
Seminar teachers are allowed to go over the answers with the students after the eight-minute drills are done but they are not allowed to give a very clear and detailed explanation on why the specific answer is the right one.
“The idea behind all of this is to have test-taking skills for students to improve their score and to not try to focus on just teaching one specific subject,” Raetz said. She also reminded students that “the ACT is probably one of the important exams you will take as a high school student, so try your best on these eight-minute workouts.”
Andrea Eppenauer has been working in the district for 20 years, teaching Spanish II, III and IV.
“The drills are good practice for the ACT but beyond that they are good testing skills for any testing situation,” she said.
Eppenauer is not on the testing committee, but said she knows these practices push the students to perform better on the ACT. Better scores equal more opportunities for entry into colleges and scholarships.
“I do think that these drills are helpful. I think they are trying to give you a wealth of practice with as little to no pain as possible,” Eppenauer said.
Leonela Leon, a junior who plans on having her career in the medical field, said she has planned to take the ACT her senior year. Leon also said the tips provided on the practices help the students out with future exams.
“I think the practices are boring but very useful,” she said. “I have learned very helpful tips to make the ACT testing easier.”
Blanca Castro is a student at Smith-Cotton High School.