Small Town Times 2-9 - Page 11

ACT Becomes State Test for ALL Juniors The Nebraska Department of Education has chosen the ACT to replace the NeSA (Nebraska State Accountability Assessment) for all Juniors beginning the 2016-2017 school year. Each 11th grader in the state will be taking the ACT this spring. Litchfield has selected to give the traditional paper/pencil test to the class and then do any make up testing with the online version. The state hopes that having all Juniors take the ACT they would promote a college going culture and perhaps open opportunities for our students that had previously not considered going to college as a post-high school option. The ACT is slated for Wednesday, April 19th as the date for the ACT to be administered. Please mark your calendars to ensure that all Juniors are in school on this very important date. Commonly asked questions: 1. Will the students have to pay for the test? a. No, this test will be provided free of charge. 2. Will this score be a valid score to send to colleges? a. Yes, the score will be treated the same as any other National test date. 3. Does my student need to register online? a. No, the State has uploaded the student information to ACT based on the information the schools already provide them. Students will have the opportunity to choose 4 colleges where they want the scores reported. 4. Where will the students test? a. Here at Litchfield High school. 5. When will they test? a. April 19, 2017. The ACT required that we start the test on-time so parents need to be sure their son/daughter arrives to school on time that day. 6. What is different about the ACT than the NeSA? a. NeSA was untimed, criterion referenced test where the ACT is a strictly timed, norm reference test. The NeSA was taken in segments over the course of several days. The ACT will be given in one setting on April 19th. The subject areas are similar as students will be taking Reading, Math, English, Science Reasoning, and writing. 7. How can my child prepare for the ACT? a. There are multiple ways to prepare for the ACT: i. Register to take the ACT on a national test day. Taking the test multiple times is recommended for all students as familiarity with the questions and the format helps most students with each testing opportunity. Registration for the National ACT is found at www.actstudent.org ii. Utilize practice books and cards that are available in my office. iii. The school has access to John Baylor Test Prep which students are encouraged to utilize. They can email me or come talk to me about getting materials and an account login to use these videos and practice activities to prepare. There are two different programs. The Fundamental program is for students wanting to gain basic knowledge and preparation for the ACT using 8 video sessions (those wanting to score in the 20’s). The Traditional prep is for students fine tuning their knowledge of ACT material and aiming for a score of 30. These 12 sessions are faster paced. iv. The state is also providing ACT prep through the ACT website itself. 8. I can’t afford $42.50 for my child to take the ACT but want them to test on additional National test dates. a. If you are eligible for the Free and Reduced Lunch program, you are also eligible for a fee waiver to take the ACT two times! See Mrs. Poland for the waivers. 9. What happens if my child cannot take the ACT on April 19th for an unavoidable reason? a. Makeup testing will be available but it is discouraged due to the restrictions we are given by the ACT. ALL Juniors will be required to test. 10. My child has an IEP. Will they be able to get accommodations on the test? a. Yes, if accommodations are allowed in the student’s IEP, those requests can be submitted for ACT approval on the test. If approved by ACT as an allowable accommodation, such as extended time, the student will be tested separately from the group and given appropriate accommodations. However, if the accommodations are not approved by ACT, the student can choose to get accommodations anyway and have the score become “not college reportable” or choose to take the test without accommodation so the scores can be used for college. Our first choice would be the try to obtain the approval for accommodations. This change will be a challenge for everyone involved. The teachers, administrators and I are working hard to learn as much information about this process as possible so we can help our students achieve success. We know any time we change tests or have a change of protocol the state passes down to us it sometimes takes a toll on all involved. Previously the ACT has only been taken by those intending to go to college, specifically four-year colleges. Now ALL students, regardless of future plans will take this test. As a district, we may see a drop in score averages due to the change in the inclusiveness of all students testing. However, we hope over time, our preparation leads to increased scores for all students. If you have questions about this new process or how else parents can help, please contact me at susan.poland@litchfieldps.org . 11