According to data released in August, almost a third of Illinois’ high school Class of 2012 scored too low on the ACT college-entrance exam to be considered ready for key college classes.
Mash reporters Kevin Wei, Kaylah Sosa and Daniaja Davis—all members of the Class of 2013—weigh in on whether they think ACT scores are an accurate way to predict college readiness.
There comes a point in high school where people wonder whether teaching to the test is actually beneficial to college readiness. For many seniors, this idea is top of mind. Personally, even though I scored high on the ACT, I see no correlation between the questions on the ACT and the readiness to participate in key college classes. The ACT tests basic skills such as math and reading comprehension that teens are forced to learn in their high school curriculum, encouraging little creative thinking. The theory is that if a student is able to score high on these tests, it is predicted that he or she will be able to succeed in college. The problem? When schools have become so focused on ensuring that their kids will do well on standardized tests, they’re missing out on actually preparing kids for college. It doesn’t matter how an arbitrary number designates whether someone is ready for college or not, the important thing is that students are not engrossed in always finding the right answer choice so they can become productive and valuable members of society. The world is constantly changing while standardized tests remain the same. When schools and colleges define student’s readiness by how well they score on a standardized test, the education system is setting itself up for failure.
In the weeks leading up to the ACT, I was shaking in my boots. One test to determine the rest of my future? Yikes. But three weeks later, I was in for the best news of my life. My ACT score was higher than I’d expected. It’s more impressive than my GPA and will probably be the determining factor in college admissions. The ACT is supposed to show you how ready you are for college, and if it really does live up to the hype, I think I’m well-prepared. I’ve worried about college classes since middle school, and the ACT has made me feel more confident in my abilities as a future college student. My confidence level is through the roof at the moment, but that isn’t the case for many of my peers. I see them struggling with lower ACT scores than expected. I see the tears in their eyes when they realize that they might not get into their first choice school because of their low scores. It’s tough. But it’s important to realize that ACT scores aren’t the end all-be all of college admissions. It can be a game changer, but it won’t drastically affect your chances of getting into a good school. Having a good ACT score doesn’t guarantee you admission to a school. Colleges take more than a test score into consideration when deciding your admission.
A student’s ACT score can be the deciding factor between the college of their dreams and settling for whatever college they are accepted in. When I received my ACT score, I was pleased; however, many of my peers were disappointed and had no choice but to take the test again. For some of my friends, it made them question whether or not they were ready for college or if they should even go to the college they had been hoping to attend. Although I was pleased with my ACT score, I’m still considering taking the exam again because my score is one point lower than the requirement to be directly admitted into the school I wish to study at the university I want to attend. The ACT can be a scary thing, but it is still the best option when it comes to testing college readiness. Schools just need to find a way to be more efficient in ACT prep classes. Some schools have better prep classes than others, and even still students who have more money can afford to take better classes outside of school. That puts some students at an unfair advantage. We should all have equal opportunity to receive adequate test preparation so that we can feel confident in our scores and in our college readiness.
>> What do you think? Does your ACT score actually indicate college readiness and your ability to succeed in key college courses? Leave a comment below or tweet us @mashchicago with your opinion.
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