Monthly Archives

March 2017

ACT Workshops and Classes Newsletter

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ACT Workshops and Classes  at Focus on Learning Center

   March   2017 200 Corporate Lake Drive Columbia, MO 65203          573-875-5187

2017 Dates

ACT Test Dates

June 10

September 9

October 8

December 9


06/03  Columbia

09/09  Columbia

10/07  St. Louis

11/11  Kansas City

12/02  Columbia


06/10   Columbia

09/30    Springfield

10/28    St. Louis

12/09    Kansas City


Dr. Gary Moss

Dr. Ene Chippendale

Cost:  $250

Time: 9:30 – 3:30

We can schedule both workshops in your building for PD days.

Please let us know if you would like to host a Saturday workshop.


Contact us at

200 Corporate Lake Drive

Columbia, MO 65203


       Teaching For Success on the ACT (TFS):

       New Missouri Learning Standards and the ACT—What’s a School to Do?

Classroom experiences lay the foundation for ACT success. Students who have strong reading, English, math, and science skills can easily learn the strategies that are specific to each ACT subtest. The ACT overwhelms students who lack a strong academic background. Learning test taking strategies alone is just not enough. Students need to know the content covered by each test! Students learn this content in their classrooms.

More and more teachers are beginning to incorporate ACT prep into their daily curriculum, and the TFS workshop provides them useful materials and strategies.  Many teachers have not had any recent experience with the ACT and thus feel uneasy about having to work the test into their classes. We give them the tools they need.


Who participates? English, math, science, and social studies faculty; special education teachers; and administrators.

What are its goals? The goals of the workshop are to

•    Identify overlapping LS’s and ACT College Readiness Standards

•    Teach the structure and content of the ACT

•    Provide strategies for daily lesson plans to

– Improve reading comprehension

– Connect ACT math questions to LS’s in math classes

– Explain the structure and major concepts found on the science test

-Identify rules of punctuation, grammar, and rhetoric that make up

the English test

What materials do teachers receive?  Teachers leave this interactive workshop with a comprehensive range of materials that includes ACT tests, handouts, strategies for succeeding on each subtest, sites for additional resources, power points,  and access for materials that can be downloaded for class use.

Teachers as ACT Coaches (TAC)

The ACT is a teachable test, and students who prepare score higher and gain the benefits of more school choices and higher scholarships. Every point gain on the ACT can make a difference.

The ACT is a subject-based test, and teachers are the most effective coaches because they can answer content questions while also teaching specific test taking strategies.

Who participates?  English, math, science, and special ed teachers who

coach students for the ACT.

What are the goals?  Participating teachers learn

•    The content of each ACT subtest

•    The types of questions and traps that appear on the test

•    The strategies that help students raise their scores

•    How to structure and teach ACT classes

What materials do teachers receive?  Teachers leave the workshop ready to develop and teach an ACT class. As part of the class, they receive

•    ACT workbooks – English/Reading/Writing and Math/Science

•    Power points to use in class

•    Copies of ACT tests with explanation guides

•    Supplemental class handouts

•    Access to website for materials and tests

The TAC curriculum has been developed and is modified yearly by Dr. Ene-Kaja Chippendale and Dr. Gary Moss who continue to coach the ACT.  Their strategies are, therefore, student tested and successful.


We believe ALL students deserve ACT prep before taking this difficult and important test, and that ACT prep should be modified according to the goal scores of students.  Teachers, therefore, learn how to differentiate instruction according to whether students are aiming for 20s, 25s, or 30s.

ACT On-Site Classes

We offer on-site classes that range from a 4-hour Jump Start to a 20-hour ACT Academy.  The Fishbowl Academy includes teachers who are training to coach the ACT. We also teach a 21 hr. Bright Flight Academy for 29s and 30s. Check our website for details or call 573-875-5187.

ACT Scores Will Help Finance College

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ACT Scores Will Help Finance College

The ACT test is the single most important exam a high school student takes.  ACT scores are used for college admission, scholarship aid, and decisions about enrollment in remedial English or math classes.  Remedial college classes cost as much as regular classes but do not award credit.

Students receive 5-7 ACT scores.  All students receive ACT scores in English, Math, Reading and Science and a Composite Score that is the average of the four.   Some students also take the Writing Test and receive two additional scores:  Writing and a Composite English/Writing.   The ACT scores range from 1-36, and a score of 21 is the approximate average.   At this time, 31 is Bright Flight and reflects the top 4% of students.

ACT score based scholarships kick in on all levels.  For example, Missouri Western University offers a $2000/year scholarship to students with 21s.  The largest scholarships are awarded once students score 25 or higher.

High ACT scores translate into serious money.  The University of Missouri offers some generous scholarships that include

Excellence Award          $1000/yr        27+           Top 25% class

Curators’ Award            $4500/yr         28+          Top 5%   class

Chancellor’s Award      $6500/yr         31+           Top 10% class

Missouri Scholars        $10,000/yr       33+          Excellent record

These are the most prestigious awards.  There are many more, and each college and university in Missouri and around the country has its own list. Check out the possibilities here!

ACT preparation makes a difference and it can be a very valuable investment.

Check our website for more information about scholarships in Missouri and across the US.

The ACT provides colleges with “equalizer” information in that the scores for every student are based on the same criteria.  In an age of grade inflation, many colleges believe that the ACT score can differentiate among students and help identify those who have the greatest chance of success.

School vouchers are not the answer

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Betsy DeVos is unquestionably the most controversial Secretary of Education we have seen in our lifetime.  Lacking any background in public education, either as a student, parent, or professional, she appears to have been chosen because of her family’s big pockets for funding congressional candidates.

Mrs. DeVos is not a fan of public education and is dedicated to developing a voucher system that will filter money from public schools to charter schools, including religious schools.  Funding religious schools with public funds represent a constitutional violation of the separation of church and state, but that does not concern her. She believes vouchers will greatly improve the quality of education for America’s children.

However, the growing evidence shows that she is wrong.   Vouchers are not offering the panacea she and other advocates claim.  Michael Hiltzik summarizes results of studies from across the country that show that many voucher students are actually performing less well than their public school peers.

This issue is important for us in Missouri because there is a strong push in Jefferson City to expand the voucher system in our state.  We need to collect all available evidence to use to counter this undesirable push for vouchers.  Instead, we need to focus on improving funding for public education.

Read the complete article by clicking this link!

– Summary was written by Dr. Ene-Kaja Chippendale

March 2017 Newsletter

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March 2017

ACT Prep at Focus on Learning works. My score rose 4 points to a 33, and I now haver a full ride at Mizzou.
Jackson Overton with Dr. Chippendale

Student ACT Prep

We offer a wide range of ACT preparation for students at all levels. Students work with two content specialist coaches–English/Reading and Math/Science–which allows them to ask subject-based questions while also learning test-taking strategies.

We tailor ACT instruction according to the goal score of each student. This past year alone, out students have increased their composite score 2-10 points.

Every point increase translates into scholarship dollars.

Focus on Learning ACT prep instruction

Tiered ACT Classes

Fundamentals Class for students new to the test

The fast-paced, guaranteed  Advanced Class for more experienced ACT test-takers aiming for mid to upper 20’s

Guaranteed Bright Flight Academy class for 29’s and 30’s aiming for 31

Private ACT  Instruction

One-on-one ACT tutoring – each student works with two teachers, one for English/Reading and the other for Math/Science

What students benefit most from one-on-one instruction?

Students who have already scored 30 or 31 and want to move higher.

Students with busy and inflexible schedules.

Motivated students who like to work at their own pace and are willing to commit to homework.

Students with a broad range of subtest scores benefit from one-on-one instruction is to raise the composite score.


April 8th is the National ACT Test date

This is a good test for juniors to take even though they will be enrolled in the state mandated test on April 19. The April test is one of only three tests that the ACT releases to students, Students can order (for a small fee, of course) copies of both their test and their answer sheet. This released test is an ideal diagnostic because it shows how students perform under real test conditions. It also helps prepare students for the state test.

April 19th is the State Mandated ACT in schools

The state pays for all juniors to take this test, and it is administered during the school day.  ALL juniors have to take it, irrespective of whether they plan to go to college or not. This, of course, can create tension, both for students who don’t want to take the test and for schools that fear that their mean score will drop.  ACT scores are used to evaluate schools.

Students who receive special accommodations through IEP’s or 504’s must submit their request to the ACT at least 6 weeks prior to the test.

The ACT has become a high-stakes test for both students and schools. It is the single most important test a student takes in high school. A high score brings

  College choices

  Scholarship dollars that can extend to full rides

   College level rather than remedial English and math classes freshman year

A low score, on the other hand, becomes an embarrassment.  Students who don’t score well feel humiliated and even stupid.  Once they score poorly, it becomes more difficult to excite them about preparing to take the test again.

What does the ACT cover?

The ACT has 5 subtests: English, math, reading, science and writing. The writing test is optional on the national tests but mandated on the state test. All students are required to take the written portion on April 19th.

Why is the ACT difficult?

The ACT is designed to evaluate students’ readiness for college.  It covers English grammar, punctuation, and rhetoric and math through trigonometry. The reading test includes a variety of college level texts and the Science test covers passages from biology, chemistry, and physics and incorporates graphs that are more complex than those they use in their content classes.

The writing section presents three perspectives on a broad social issue and students have 40 minutes to respond to each while also presenting their point of view.  Many students are overwhelmed by this task.

ACT Prep Class Starting Dates

Fundamentals ACT Class Sec.1 starts March 13th, 2017

Fundamentals ACT Class Sec. 2 starts March 19th, 2017

Advanced ACT Class starts March 7th, 2017

Bright Flight Academy ACT Class starts March 11th, 2017

To find out more call 573-875-5187

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