A number of measures are underway in the Weyauwega-Fremont School District to help students increase their ACT scores.
“Research shows that the more exposure and practice, the better the results,” said Carrie Kollat, the high school guidance counselor.
She is among the school district’s staff members who are working to help students improve their ACT scores.
The average ACT score of the Class of 2010 was 20.8. Like many students in other school districts, they took that test during their junior year of high school.
Kollat, who is in her second year of being high school guidance counselor, said the district’s average is lower to the statewide average of 22.
She said that when she applied for the job and researched the school district, the lower ACT scores were among the things she noticed.
Since Kollat had experience doing ACT workshops in a previous position, she knew the importance of helping students prepare for the test.
For a total of four years, she was director of Upward Bound, a pre-college program for low-income students. One of the services provided to the districts where she worked was ACT preparation.
When she interviewed for the guidance counselor position in the W-F School District, Kollat was asked several questions related to the ACT test.
“I was happy we had that in common,” she said.
Not only does the district have a goal of increasing its average ACT score – it is also a professional goal for Kollat.
During the 2009-10 school year and again this school year, she attended the ACT College and Career Readiness Workshop.
Last school year, each core teacher received a copy of the ACT practice test.
District Administrator Scott Bleck was the high school principal during the 2009-10 school year, and it was his idea to put together an ACT team, made up of representatives of the different core departments.
In February 2010, they attended the ACT State Conference, and Kollat said they will also be attending that conference this year.
After attending the conference last year, she went into the junior English classes and gave each student a folder of prep information.
Those folders included such things as a description of the overall test, test taking tips, tips for the individual tests, how the test is scored, what students should bring on the day of the test and websites they could also visit for help.
“The following week, the juniors who were taking the test in April or June had an ACT mock test morning,” Kollat said.
The test was timed and scored. Of the 42 students who took the mock test, 87 percent of those students either raised their score when they took the actual ACT test or saw it stay the same, she said.
The students felt more prepared, Kollat said.
This February, when individual conferences are held with the students who are juniors, as well as with their parents, she will explain the prep work available to those planning to take the ACT test this spring.
In addition to the things done last school year, the school district has added several more things related to the ACT test.
A decision of the district’s administration was to incorporate an “ACT question of the day” into the classrooms of specific core teachers.
“Every student in the school receives a question of the day – freshmen through juniors,” Kollat said.
The school district sees that as a way to reach all of its students.
In addition, letters went out to the parents of students who are juniors, telling them about the opportunity for their children to take Xavier High School’s ACT prep course through the CASCADE distance learning lab.
Kollat said the class will be held from 3:40 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. on four consecutive days at the end of March.
The average ACT score at Xavier High School is 26.1, she was told.
Kollat said the ACT score is one of many things that colleges look at, and the more competitive the college, the higher that score needs to be.
Other factors include a student’s grade point average, class load, teacher recommendations and involvement in and outside of school.
“But, the ACT can tip to their advantage. It could be the deciding factor,” she said.
In the W-F School District, a number of people are working together collectively, and Kollat said there is also discussion at the administrative level about implementing the EXPLORE and PLAN tests, the sister tests of the ACT that are given to eighth-grade students and sophomores respectively.
“We plan to incorporate those two tests for all students,” she said.
Finally, the district will use the data it receives to review how its students are doing and to make sure that its curriculum is at the high level it needs to be at, Kollat said.
Information about the ACT test is on her web page on the district website, and she encourages parents to contact her if they have questions or want additional information.