Improving ACT scores goal of CA workshop

FLINT TWP. — Besides being an active teenager and a student representative on the Carman-Ainsworth Board of Education, junior Whitney Reynolds probably has more than enough extracurricular activities to occupy her time. But that didn’t stop her from signing up for the after-school ACT Success Prep Workshop being offered to juniors this year to help them ace the ACT next spring.

The 11-week program began Dec. 6 with a four-hour pre-test to help participating students discover what areas they need to work on.

Reporting oh her progress at the Dec. 13 Board of Trustees meeting, Reynolds said a review of her pre-test results not only provided correct answers but also helped her understand her wrong answers.

That was followed up the next week with helpful study books provided to students taking the workshop.

“I like the way everything is explained more in depth and we were able to take notes,’’ Reynolds said.

She was one of 109 students who signed up for the workshop which had room for 120. Of those, 106 attended the first session on Dec. 6, after a regular school day, and spent four hours taking a practice test., said Steve Tunnicliff, CA assistant superintendent of instruction, in a written report to the Board of Trustees.

Test results were shared with students and also used to train four content-area teachers running the workshop. It will help them prepare group and individual study plans aimed at improving students’ ACT scores, Tunnicliff said.

Noting that the ACT workshop is a tremendous opportunity for CA students, Tunnicliff said that similar training can cost $400 to $1000.

CA students paid $75 for the workshop which will be reimbursed to those who attend 90 percent of classes, making it free.

“I am invigorated by the fact that almost 30 percent of or juniors are willing to stay after school every day for an hour, without earning any course credit, because they recognize the importance of doing well on the ACT,’’ Tunnicliff said.

He added that while he can’t guarantee the ACT prep workshop will help CA meet Adequate Yearly Progress goals set by the state, he is confident it will open doors to colleges for students that might not have been attainable without it.

Colleges use ACT scores in determining admission, course placement and scholarship awards.

In a letter to parents in early November announcing the workshop, CAHS principal Rory Mattar said it was being offered because ACT scores from past years indicate students could benefit from more preparation than what is provided in the classroom.

ACT workshops are not uncommon statewide but can be expensive and inconvenient depending on when and where they are held, Mattar said.

CAHS workshop covers content in Math, English and Science and also provides ACT test-taking strategies.

CA administration purchased a test prep program developed by Cambridge Educational Services which has a proven track record of improving scores by two or more points, he said in the letter.

Juniors take the ACT test on March 6.

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