Friday, May 17, 2013
Dorchester School District Two is the first school district in South Carolina to require all high school juniors to take the ACT, a college admission test accepted by all four-year and most two-year colleges and universities in the country.
The test was administered to all high school juniors on April 23. This opportunity for students to take the ACT during the school day at no cost to them is a part of a comprehensive district initiative to ensure college and career readiness for every student. Students will have the opportunity to have their ACT scores sent to colleges and universities of their choice.
“The school district wanted an assessment and college prep tool that it could give to all high school juniors to determine their college and career readiness and picked the ACT to do that,” said Superintendent Joe Pye.
A goal of this initiative is to increase the number of high school students who consider pursuing a post-secondary education.
“If students see that they score well on this test,” said Director of High Schools Dr. Kenneth Wilson, “they may be convinced early in their high school career that they are college material. Now every high school junior in Dorchester School District Two will have a record test that could be used to make post-secondary decisions.”
The ACT is a 36-point scale test consisting of five parts that includes English, math, reading, science, and an optional writing section. District officials did state that with all juniors taking the ACT the district average ACT score will most likely drop slightly for the first few years in comparison with past composite scores when a smaller number of students voluntary took the college admission test.
With the implementation of district wide ACT testing in the eleventh grade, Dorchester District Two now has the ability to objectively determine if a student is progressing toward college and career readiness from eighth grade through graduation.
The district already administers the ACT college readiness tests to eighth graders (EXPLORE), tenth graders (PLAN), and twelfth graders (WorkKeys).
Wilson explained that this process will allow schools to effectively monitor student achievement and to nurture the individual talents of students as they prepare for the 21st century workplace.
“Requirements of the 21st century workplace have made the terms college-ready and work-ready synonymous,” said Pye. “ACT testing for all eleventh graders is similar to an academic early intervention that allows school counselors and parents to work with and inform students early on what they need academically to get into college. We treasure the potential of each child in our community and we are committed to preparing them for the challenges and opportunities of our global society.”