Summit Education Initiative offers ACT® practice test to high schools
952 and counting.
This year, the Ohio Department of Education began paying for college readiness tests for all juniors at public schools in the state. Administrators may choose between the ACT® and SAT® test; all high schools in Summit County chose the ACT®.
SEI considered this as an opportunity to support schools and their students.
“We value predictive – or ‘early’ – data,” says Dr. Matthew Deevers, senior research associate at SEI. “Funding and support from United Way of Summit County, which supports work along the Cradle to Career continuum, enabled us to purchase practice tests from ACT® for high school students in the county.”
Results can help schools focus intervention efforts for students who may pursue a degree after high school. While SEI recommended schools administer the practice test in fall of students’ junior year in high school, each school has chosen an approach that best meets its students’ needs.
Some schools administer the test to sophomores, and even ninth grade students. Akron Public Schools’ STEM High School administered the ACT® practice test to all students from ninth through 11th grade.
“The practice test helps us look toward areas that students may need to focus on before taking the real ACT®,” says Nick DePompei, school counselor at Revere High School, where only ninth graders took the ACT® practice test. “Understanding the students’ scores for future course placement has been most helpful when working with SEI.”
Deevers and Research Associate Cristina González Alcalá created a custom answer document they can scan with equipment at SEI – free of charge to schools in Summit County. The scanning equipment was purchased through a grant from The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation.
“Our motive is not making a profit; it’s student success,” Deevers says. “We provide a report to schools whose students take the ACT® practice test, which also includes individual reports for students. The individual reports are PDFs teachers print and distribute to their students. The report gives students a chance to see what their scores would have been if they were taking the official test.”
SEI often distributes results sooner than if schools administered the practice test directly through ACT®.
“Most schools have their results within one week after they submit the answer documents,” Deevers adds. “School administrators are largely appreciative of the quick turnaround.”
“Although the PSAT® is great, we feel an ACT® practice test is better at preparing our students – 90 percent of whom eventually take the ACT® before graduation,” DePompei says.