Saturday, December 8, 2018

Tremendous Turnout for ACT Practice Test

On Saturday, December 8, 40 Belleville High School juniors participated in an ACT practice test from 8:00-11:30am in the library.  This represents 66% of the Class of 2020.  For the past three years, the state of Wisconsin has used the ACT and ACT Aspire as its state assessments for high schools.  This has forced schools to adapt, since the ACT had traditionally been used by post-secondary institutions to determine college readiness in comparison with same-age peers. Now the ACT comprises 80% of Belleville High School’s school report card score from the Department of Public Instruction.  In reality, the ACT exam that our 61 juniors will take on February 20, 2019, in a 4-hour time span, determines how our high school is viewed by the public and compared with other high schools in the area and around the state.   So, the stakes are extremely high!

In response, Belleville High School purchased access to Method Test Prep for all of its students two years ago.  Students access Method Test Prep as part of Career Cruising- a software program open to all secondary students statewide.  Method Test Prep can be accessed at any time online.  It features ACT preparation in the content areas of English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science.   Students can take 10-minute evaluations in each subject that provide an ACT predictor score for that sub-test.  Students can also create personalized quizzes within their weakest areas, as well as generate a list of ACT vocabulary terms that they have (or have not) mastered.  All of this generates data that teachers can access on individual students and the junior class as a whole.  Teachers can then plan lessons to address common skill deficiencies. 

Method Test Prep also offers a 20-week preparation program.  They tout an average increase of three ACT composite points for students that complete at least half of this program.  For the 2018-19 school year, BHS’s 11th grade core teachers have integrated this Method Test Prep program into their classes, with each teacher assuming one 20-minute lesson in their content area per week.  For all of the 2017-18 school year, BHS students answered 9,019 ACT prep questions.  With this new approach, students have already answered 18,282 questions so far this year.  Our hope is to increase students’ skills and familiarity with the exam to improve their individual ACT scores, thus raising Belleville High School’s overall average.  Belleville High School’s ACT Aspire predictor score for the Class of 2020 was 21.3.

This preparation also helps our students individually, as the ACT still represents a major factor in college admissions and in scholarships.  A rise in an ACT composite score of two to three points can lead to an increase in ten of thousands of dollars in scholarships to private schools!