Navigating the ACT Challenges

By:Asia Morris

Stress, Preparation and Perspective on the Way to College Readiness.

The ACT, is a standardized test created in 1959, taken into account by colleges and universities by 1972. The test is designed for high school students to measure college readiness. However, controversy surrounds its usage, with some universities criticizing its effectiveness and impact.

Standardized testing is a long cornerstone in the education system, acting as a basis for assessing progress. Measuring students and providing a standard grade level for teachers and administrators. The testing continues to provide structure to the school system.

Although it has sparked debate, critics argue that it places too much stress on students. Alternative testing methods can be argued as better for the learning environment, such as: Formative assessment which involves monitoring a student’s learning progress. Adaptive testing adjusts the difficulty of the questions measuring the students’ responses. A common method that is used is Open ended questions allowing students to provide a detailed response. 

On the other hand, Ms.Tervort, an English teacher states, “The standardized testing is a way to make it as fair as possible, but the downside to that is it makes people feel like they have to fit a certain bowl.” There is never a right way of testing, but through the years, standardized tests have been proven to be a reliable and efficient method of assessing skills.

Administered with a 3-hour time frame, allowing roughly 1 minute per question, including those that may be more challenging. Time limits are looked down upon as it is a considerable struggle. Timed tests put students in a place where they have to be able to use their own basic knowledge, instead of other resources. A Fremont Senior states. “Pacing  yourself is the biggest component. The ACT is not a life or death situation, you can always retake it.” The senior expresses that although it is stressful at the moment, it is nothing to demean yourself about. 

 Techniques have been provided for the timed test by teachers and administrators. This is what we call ACT prep. This preparation provides students with a basic understanding of what they may see on the test. Mr.Floyd, a Math teacher states, “It is worthwhile to do preparation beforehand, to get a feel for the questions.” He emphasizes the value of studying, suggesting that familiarizing students with the test can provide an insight to questions that may be encountered.

The stress of the test takes a toll on students as it is a foundation to the upcoming future of college. ACT applications are highly regarded by colleges. Students realizing its major importance become stressed not knowing a way to prepare. The ACT prep is a great way to ease students’ nerves and develop a new understanding.

Although the test is stressful, it is a major component in college admissions; the test isn’t the only factor taken into consideration, as GPA, extracurricular activities, essays, and letter of recommendations are a huge portion of the assessment process, for college applications.

While the ACT presents many challenges and stress it is essential to approach it with preparation and perspective. As Mr Floyd notes, “It serves as a benchmark for college readiness, but it should not define a student’s worth for future reference.” By recognizing the importance of the ACT and how it serves as a benchmark, students can be able to prepare for the upcoming tests with opportunities provided by the school.

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