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What's Right With Our Schools: Anderson Co. ACT prep

11:05 PM, Nov 2, 2011   |    comments
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When you are in school, particularly in those upper level grades, tests are part of everyday life. However, not all exams are the same and one in particular can dramatically influence life after high school. 

For the first time this fall, all students at Anderson County High School are facing that test head on and getting a kind of support they have never had. 

If you get past the crowded hallways at the school and take a closer look inside some of the classrooms, you will see a quiet change in student direction, mindset and attitude. 

"They didn't have this last year and I think it's a really good idea that had it this year," said Junior Lisa Seiber. 

"I haven't heard of any other schools that have done this," said Junior Jonathan McClure. 

"If we want the best test scores, then we're going to have to prepare for it," explained Junior Meghan Ellis. 

This change is spurred by a new class teachers said is better preparing students for what could be the most important test they have ever taken, the ACT.

"Well at the beginning - they are reluctant - they think OK, one more thing that we have to do, but we try to emphasize that it's about opportunities," said Science teacher Carmen Barrea. 

The course focuses solely on ACT practice tests and prep work. There is one subject for five weeks, then a new subject for five more weeks and so on until next spring, when students take the real test. 

The idea is to help kids face the unknown and really know what to expect. "By giving them skills and helping them relax by seeing what is expected of them, they're getting an idea so their levels go down and there's a better chance to perform, you know, higher," said Berrea.  

However, this class isn't just an elective. All junior students must take it. Administrators re-arranged teachers' schedules to make sure everyone could take the class and it would be no additional cost to the school system. "A lot of these kids might today, say, I'm not going to going to college, but tomorrow, a week from now, they might wake up and say, hey, maybe I might like an opportunity to go to college and if we pass those kids up now, we can't really go back," said Principal Andrea Russell. 

"This is going to help me be successful and I want to be a successful person and you know just going into college and stuff and having bragging rights - that's what I want - so I think it's a good idea, " said Seiber. 

The ACT Prep extends beyond the classroom. All students have access to an online study program they can use both in and outside of school.

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