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The Value of the ACT

posted Apr 3, 2016, 2:10 PM by Jeffrey Wolf

By: Elysia Dowd, News Editor

Posted March 23rd, 2016

Early this March, juniors all across the state of Wisconsin took the ACT, which has replaced the previous WKCE requirement. Standardized tests like the ACT have been a hot topic in recent years, and I wanted to find out how Slinger’s juniors felt about their recent exam, as well as what the experts had to say. 76 of 245 juniors responded to the survey, and this is what they had to say.

80.3% stated that they were glad that the ACT has replaced the WKCE. This makes sense for several reasons, the most obvious of which is cost. The ACT is now free for Wisconsin students, which is very valuable for those who would have taken the test anyway (85.5% of the sample group). Additionally, sources like FairTest say that between the ACT and SAT, the ACT is a much more accurate measure of what students learned in high school, making it the best replacement for the WKCE.

Unfortunately, though so many students saw value in taking the test, only about 30% felt prepared or very prepared for the test, with 47% of responders saying that they only felt moderately prepared. Still, 50% said that school preparations helped them feel more prepared for the ACT, and rightfully so. Studies have shown that quality test tutoring can raise one’s ACT score by up to four points, with some companies like Princeton Review guaranteeing a three point increase. The 73% of students who state they will retake the test based on their score will likely turn to services like this.

This raises an obvious question: how valuable is the ACT if one can achieve any score with a little bit of coaching? There is fierce debate about how accurate of a profile standardized tests are, but for now they are a key part of the college admission process. However, the ACT and universities agree that test scores alone mean very little. Most colleges focus primarily on students’ GPA. Almost 49% of the survey group agreed that ACT scores don’t define a student, and they are right to think so. When approaching college application time, the important thing to remember is that hard work and studiousness in high school is what really matters to one’s future school, and that will show in a GPA even if it doesn’t seem to show in a test score.

For the complete survey results, click here: https://docs.google.com/a/slingerschools.org/forms/d/1W8GokokNavsqCHY1gr-1rxwRm3qEK4whf4vw6D4tNL0/edit?usp=drive_web#responses