Posted Date: 02/25/2019
In a move to give every student the opportunity to further their education, the ACT college entrance exam was given to juniors and seniors at Chanute High School this week.
ACT is the test that most colleges require a student score from as part of the application process. Depending on the score, it also determines the amount of scholarship money that might be available to a student, said CHS counselor Andrew Stout.
“It’s a great opportunity for our kids,” Principal Brian Campbell added. “A lot of kids wouldn’t take it because of the price or lack of transportation to get to a testing center.”
Eliminating those barriers is one of the reasons CHS opted to train its staff to administer the exam, prepare its classrooms as testing sites and follow all the rules and protocols required for testing.
“(This is) a low income area and not all kids have the resources to take the ACT,” Stout said. A non-monetary reason is that “many times it’s done on a Saturday and a lot of our students have to have a job therefore they can’t make it in to take the ACT.”
This year the state of Kansas decided to cover the cost for every junior and senior, who wants to take the test, provided they have not already taken the ACT. The testing date in public schools was Feb. 20, with a makeup date set in April.
“Even if they’re not sure what they want to do, it’s easier to get it out of the way and for free,” Campbell added. “And some may be surprised with the results. They may do better than they thought. It might change their plans.”
Taking the ACT costs about $50, depending on whether students sign up for the writing section; and how many colleges they want to receive their score. Students in this area typically take the ACT exam at Neosho County Community College.
Most four-year colleges require a minimum ACT score for admission. At the University of Kansas the minimum score is 23-29, while at Kansas State it’s 24.
On Wednesday, 143 CHS students signed up to take the ACT. On Thursday, a second exam, called WorkKeys, was given to the school’s 231 juniors and seniors, also at no cost.
The WorkKeys test is similar to the ASVAB, a test given to anyone interested in joining the military. “It helps them know what their strengths are,” Stout said.
“The CTE (career-technical) hallway has already been giving it to their students,” Campbell said. “It will provide a certificate of employability skills, so it’s really good if you’re going straight to the work force.”
It can also help someone who plans to work while taking college classes, Stout added.
The two-day process was a huge undertaking, which included preparing staff to be test administrators, finding hall monitors, removing curriculum from classroom walls and finding community volunteers to help cover classes for students not being tested.
Stout and Campbell believe the process was very worthwhile.
“They are testing in an environment that is familiar to them and also on a school day which is familiar to them as well,” Stout said. “These two pieces make it easier for a student to be successful. If you (factor) in that it’s free, it gives our students here at CHS more of an ability to succeed.”