An in-depth description of the statewide ACT

Luke Hottovy, Staff Writer

For the first time in the history of the Kansas public schooling system the state is administering a free ACT. As of 2018 there were only 12 states in the US that required every junior to take the ACT. Kansas is now joining that select few fold of states,” which require every junior in the state to take the ACT, as of this year.

Junior Jacob Carnes said he thinks the additional test will offer students a variety that was lacking beforehand. “I’m glad that they offer one to take in school that’s free, and I think it frees up people’s Saturdays.” Carnes said. “I think it’s good that people can also take it on their own time to get a better score.”

The state-mandated ACT has a few minor differences in the actual environment of the testing itself. The test will be free of charge and will be taken in familiar classrooms in our own school. Faculty and staff from each Blue Valley school will help to pitch in. The test will also have about 20 to 30 less people in the classroom, compared to a normal ACT on a Saturday, according to Jason Peres.

“This is part of their normal routine,” Peres said. “They don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary.” They’re going to come here, sit in classrooms they’re very comfortable and familiar with, and they’re going to take a high stakes test. In my opinion, and I think if we looked at some of the research about testing and testing environments, this is for every kid, an advantage for them.”

The ACT was originally set to take place on Wednesday, February 20, but was cancelled due to school not being in session as a result of inclement weather. However, the tumultuous snowstorms that have already cancelled school a handful of times will not stop the state. Therefore, the ACT has officially been moved to Tuesday, April 2.

It is hard to tell exactly what inspired the state to dispense the ACT, although an array of ideas may come to mind. An interesting theory on what allegedly prompted the state to administer the ACT in the first place, is the advancement of the state’s students.

“My guess is that it provides an opportunity for every Kansan to go to the next level, and which is a goal of all high schools.” Mr Peres said. “We want kids to have opportunities beyond high school and this is a gateway for that.”

Standardized tests taking place during the school day aren’t anything new or foreign to the American student body. Although it is a rare occasion, the national testing day which occurs annually in October tests students over practice ACTs and practice SATs. One outlying correlation that can be drawn from the testing in October and the ACT in April is the testing environment, which appear to be very familiar to one another. However, students will be taking a legitimate test instead of a preparatory one, which could add some intensity to the nerves, although the two are intrinsically and stylistically similar.

Many students seem to be glad that the state is distributing the ACT, including junior Lily Raby. “I think it’s a good thing.” Raby said. “Because if you have really good luck, like one and done, it didn’t cost you anything and if not, it’s good practice.”

for the future of this newly state-provided test, it’s again difficult to speculate on, just like the reason for the spontaneous distribution in the first place.However, if the test is a success, there’s no reason why Kansas would not make the statewide ACT a new annual tradition. The state’s average in 2018 was a 21.6 compared to the national average score of 20. If the students of Kansas continue to score over the national average, perhaps the state will continue to invest in other educational opportunities in the near future.

Another important thing the test brings to the table is college and career readiness, which will now be available to all students in Kansas. Although students who attend the Blue Valley Schools may not have much difficulty paying for standardized testing, many other students and parents struggle to scrape up the spare change to pay for standardized testing in the state of Kansas. Not to mention, the ACT isn’t as widely distributed in rural areas, which Kansas is plentiful with. Perhaps with this screening, college tuition will be more suitable to the students of Kansas, based on their score on the state-provided ACT.

“At least you want to have the option of saying no to college and doing something else and that’s what this does for every kid in our state regardless of socio-economic background, regardless of where you came from,” Peres said. “Every kid now has the same exact opportunity.”

Peres said the statewide ACT is an opportunity that the students of the junior class, and onward will come to cherish. Likewise, the introduction of the free ACT provides an important evaluation for students through examination, and now, the state has come to offer this evaluation for free.

| lukehottovy