High school graduates headed on to college are expected to have a certain level of competency in english, math, reading and science. In Alabama, almost one-third of college freshmen fall below expectations in those four benchmarks.
According to the latest results of the ACT college entrance exam, only 17 percent of Alabama's public school graduates met or surpassed all four benchmarks. A whopping 69 percent of these graduates met just two of the benchmarks. Freshmen classes could be difficult for some of those students. Many will end up in remedial courses. The national ACT average is 21.1 and Alabama's 20.1.
But the Alabama State Department of Education has introduced its College and Career Ready Assessment System to improve those results. Shelby County Guidance Supervisor Cindy Wiley says the district has already seen improvement.
"We're getting them ready for the workforce, for the college , not just going K-12 but K-20 and beyond," Wiley says.
As part of the plan for the first time, this school year, all schools will be required to give eighth graders and tenth graders ACT prep tests. The free, subject tests are geared toward preparing students for the ACT, helping them plan courses or choose a career. Schools also have extra individual help available.
"We do have one district-wide ACT prep class that meets on Saturdays," Wiley says.
Over at Shades Valley High School in Jefferson County, Counselor Cathy Foust says, this school year, the faculty has started an ACT prep class for sophomores. It covers several topics including test anxiety.
"They feel like they're going to do great but then they sit down and take the test, and they freeze. They just can't remember anything, so we are going to be working on that," Foust says.
Counselor urge parents to talk with their students' school officials to see what's available at the school and in the community when it comes to test preparation.
For more information on the ACT, visit http://www.actstudent.org
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