The Right ACT Prep Makes a Difference
Written by Dr. Ene-Kaja Chippendale
Despite the hope of many students that colleges will abandon standardized testing scores from the ACT or SAT, their place in the college admissions process remains secure for the time being. In Missouri, where the ACT rules, both school administrators and students are nervous about students’ scores. Secondary schools’ evaluations and accreditation depend in part on their composite ACT score. At this time, the state and national averages hover around 21, and it is a badge of honor for schools to exceed that.
Students know that their acceptance into college as well their ability to earn scholarships depend heavily on their ACT scores. Even a one or two point rise in scores can mean thousands of dollars in scholarships. Some students start taking practice ACT tests their freshman year to assure that they earn the maximum score by the time they apply to college. For the last few years, the State of Missouri has paid for every junior to take the April ACT, and my contact with teachers and counselors indicates that this has proven very popular practice for everyone involved. The state has now pulled the funding, but many districts remain committed to continuing the free testing in April 2018.
The ACT is the single most important test a student takes in school, and ACT prep has become a multi-million dollar industry. Yet, objective evidence supporting the effectiveness of coaching is virtually nonexistent. When the cost of an ACT class can exceed $1000 and private tutoring also can run into thousands of dollars, students, teachers, administrators and especially parents should be demanding an objective evaluation of how effective a company or private tutor is in raising scores on the ACT. While we do not evaluate every course, we do gather rigorous, methodologically sound data on some. Our evaluations consistently show that our students make significant gains using our ACT program—one that is based on the most current ACT tests and uses only experienced teachers as coaches. No other ACT prep company has comparable data, nor do they use subject experts to work with the ACT. We offer the right ACT prep—and that makes all the difference.