Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mounds View To Lead State With 100% ACT Exam Participation

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Feb. 22--The Mounds View School Board heard plans from personnel regarding District 621's intent to have 100% of its juniors taking the ACT exam this April.

Calling it a "unique Mounds View experience" (i.e. no other district in the state is doing this), Curriculum Director RoAnne Elliott said the exam's administration will ready students for a "wide range of choices" when they graduate. Elliott said the move will also send a "ripple effect across the system" that the path to post secondary experiences doesn't start in high school, but a lot earlier than that.

To help make students & families aware, Elliott and Mary Roden, Director of Assessments & Evaluation, shared a comprehensive plan being for optimizing student success.

First, the District's Naviance Access System (available to all students at home or from school) has been beefed up to include diagnostic exams in core subject areas, test-taking strategies, and full-length tests on line.  Additionally, sophomores whose results on the 10th grade PLAN test illustrate a need for assistance will receive special support from 621.

On Saturday, March 5, ISD 621 will provide a full-length, timed, practice administration of the ACT.  March 26th students will be given feedback on that performance.  These tools, along with the "home field advantage" of administering the exam at its two high schools and area learning center, should increase opportunity for success.

Board member Bob Helgeson raised the concern that 100% of students being tested will likely cause Mounds View's average ACT score--a perennial strong suit of the district-- to drop.

"If the number does drop, it doesn't mean we have less rigorous courses at our schools," said Mary Roden, "and it will provide a new baseline for attacking curriculum and instruction in our schools."

April 27th, the Wednesday of the administration, will also have 9th and 10th graders practicing timed tests (although not ACT exams) with the 11th graders. High school principals Wikelius and Gengler are gearing up for an atypical day.   ACT, Inc.'s testing "constructs" will require the test sites to follow prescribed schedules with no lunch period for students, with students working on through an approximate 1:30 release time for the day.   Seniors will be given the 27th off, in hopes they will use the time to finalize their college plans for the subsequent year.

If you would like to hear the official ACT prep. report for yourself, see agenda item "5.3 ACT- Test Prep" at the following link:

621 "ACT Test Prep" Video Clip

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