District funds Junior ACT

District funds junior ACT
Posted on 10/28/2020
From John Kitchens, Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

October 28, 2020
- In 2015 Missouri included funding for ACT testing of all high school juniors, which ended with budget cuts in 2017. Some Missouri districts continued to pay for all of their juniors to take the ACT. Thankfully, our local School Board agreed to pay for the ACT so all of our juniors are still able to take the exam. On October 6, Mexico High School seniors took the district-funded ACT. In a typical year these seniors would have taken the ACT in the spring of their junior year in high school. ACT testing centers began shutting down earlier this spring due to concerns around the pandemic, so those students were able to make up that test during this school year's ACT Fall Testing session.

The ACT is used by students, parents, and schools to help with college and career planning. The State of Missouri uses student ACT scores as a component to determine how well school districts prepare their students for college and careers. According to information from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Mexico students who received results from taking the ACT in 2020 have performed better than comparable districts in Mid-Missouri, with Mexico students scoring better than most students of districts with similar size in central Missouri. Over the last 3 years (2016-2018) 89.3% of graduates from Mexico Schools have taken the ACT, which outpaces the state with an average of 86.7% of graduating seniors taking the ACT.

The ACT has been the primary guide for students and families to plot the student’s steps after high school, with roughly 2 million students taking part in the assessment every year. ACT scores have served universities and colleges with a measurement intended to determine the likelihood of success of prospective students in higher education. While the ACT is still a leading indicator of college readiness used by higher education, other factors are gaining momentum as indicators of college readiness.

“More than a Score” and “Redefining Readiness” are groups encouraging Higher Education to broaden the scope of college readiness to include more of the educational terrain in which students operate.  Giving more weight to industry credentials, attendance, community service, and course load, are said to more accurately define student potential. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted spring testing and has moved several colleges and universities into “test-optional” college applications. In a 'test-optional" selection process grade point average and the student’s high school course load are given higher consideration, along with the student’s personal statement.

The ACT Exam covers English, math, reading and science, all of which are combined into a Composite Score. Mexico High School Juniors are scheduled to take the district funded ACT in spring 2021. Our teachers, librarians and counselors can provide additional information on specific student needs for ACT testing. Also, there are resources to help students prepare for what to expect on test day, as well as practice materials at ACT.org.