In 2015, the Missouri State Legislature appropriated $3.8 million for all junior students to take the ACT Test at no cost to the student. On Wednesday, more than 400 Smith-Cotton juniors will be given the ACT Test.
At the time of the decision, State Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven said the test helped to determine if students who graduated from high school were “college and career ready”
The ACT, along with the SAT test, are the two most commonly given tests used to help colleges and universities in determining if a student will be accepted at their institution.
According to the ACT website, the test would cost a student $42.50 to take without the writing portion and $58.50 with the written assessment.
The preparation for the exam begins early for students at S-C.
“We start ACT Workout Wednesdays in November for all students in grades nine through 12,” S-C Principal Wade Norton said. “Students participate in weekly ACT practice tests, motivational videos and receive ACT tips.
“All juniors are given a full ACT pre-test in the fall,” Norton added. “The purpose of the pretest is to give them the full practice so the April test is not the first time they go through the routine.”
Norton added that the fall pre-test also provides teachers in the district data so they can assist students in areas where they may be facing difficulties.
“Our building test coordinator, Ashley Raetz, has worked hard for the past two years to prepare our students for the ACT testing,” Norton said. “She has collaborated with a building-level ACT team to help make for a great assessment for the students.
“We also have a two-day ACT workshop for every junior at Smith-Cotton,” Norton added. “The workshop is set up to give the students a true ACT-like experience over all four of the tested areas (reading, math, science and English).”
Norton commented that both the students and staff walk away tired after the two days but that it is beneficial for the students in their preparation for the test.
Last year, juniors at S-C took the test off campus at the Celebration Center, but this year the test will be given at the high school. District administrators and staff have worked to prepare space to allow for a quiet, safe testing environment for the students, Norton said.
According to a March 6 report, the Subcommittee on Appropriations for Education in the Missouri Legislature voted to remove $3.4 million out of a statewide Performance Based Assessment Fund that would pay for the test. Although not passed by the entire Legislature to date, if approved it would affect juniors taking the ACT at no cost in subsequent years.
Both district and state administrators have said they agree the test is a good indicator of a student potential college success.
“Smith-Cotton believes that using the ACT as a junior level assessment is a smart move for Missouri, the Sedalia 200 School District, and every student at Smith-Cotton,” Norton said. “This assessment and the attached score will stay with these students to be used for college admissions. This might be done directly after graduation or 15 years later.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484