Something needs to change ACT scores

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 22, 2004

Dr. James Carter broke the bad news last week regarding one of the crucial college prep tests, the ACT. The ACT has been known as a measuring stick for students.

It gives prospective colleges an idea of the knowledge a student has gained during his or her academic journey.

The highest possible score on the test is a 36; however, the overall average of city school students was a mere 17.9. Alabama students averaged a score of 20.2, a one-point increase from 2003. The southeastern average was 20.1, while the national average was 20.9. It is evident that there is work that needs to be done for our school system, which is three points below the national average.

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Dr. Carter admits there is a problem and that he has no satisfaction with the score. As with any problem, the first step to recovery is admitting the problem. Unfortunately, it took these scores to send that message. No matter what the school system does at this point, the results will not benefit those who are near entering the collegiate world. Because of our lack of attention to a problem, our students have to take the fall.

There is time for those underclassmen as they prepare to take the test. According to Carter, steps are being taken. “We have already begun offering students a number of programs to help increase their scores. We have ACT preparation classes and an awareness program,” said Carter.

At this point there are not any other clear steps that are being taken. Perhaps these classes and programs will be enough to raise the scores.

In addition to the new programs that have “just begun”, perhaps there should be some additional training for the teachers. Preparation classes and an awareness program could surely help the teachers realize the urgency of making this matter a priority.

Perhaps programs could be started for the parents. Sadly, in our community it is much easier to get the parents to football games than it is for them to attend a PTO meeting.

There are accountability measures that could possibly be taken to ensure the cooperation of parents. Whatever steps are taken, it is known that something needs to be done.