On October 23, all eighth graders took the EXPLORE TEST.  This test is published by ACT and is a component of the ACT College and Career Readiness System.  Students will take a similar test, PLAN, in the 10th grade and will take the ACT test in grades 11 and 12.  EXPLORE was given in October so that students would have the results before high school course selection, which is usually the end of January.

The test consisted of two parts.  The achievement test portion assessed the academic areas of English, Reading, Mathematics and Science.  This part of the test was similar to the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) and will give percentile scores which will indicate where each student ranks compared with other eighth graders at Oak Mountain Middle and also how they compare all students in the United States.

Part II consists of a Needs Assessment in which information was given by the student about their perceived needs.  It also asked information about students’ school coursework plans, educational and career plans after high school and other relevant information.  The last section was an interest inventory where each student indicates their personal interests.

The results of the test are designed to

  • Assess academic progress
  • Provide an early indicator of college readiness
  • Help students understand and begin to explore the wide range of career options open to them
  • Assist students in developing a high school coursework plan that prepares them to achieve their post-high school goals

The results of this test will provide valuable information in guiding students and parents as important future educational and career decisions are made.  The results will compare academic abilities and interests in order to recommend possible career choices and high school courses that may be necessary to reach post-high school goals.

The academic teachers and I went over the results of the test with students at the beginning of our second semester on January 6.  This test is unusual in that it allows students to look at their test booklet questions and compare their answers in order to evaluate their performance.  Students were encouraged to do their work in their test booklets so that they could check their reasoning and approach to the problem as the teacher reviews the questions.  Students brought their test booklets and results home on that day.  Our goal is to help students not only identify the correct answer to each question, but to assess the logic that they used in selecting their answers.

The EXPLORE Test provides a wonderful opportunity for our students to think about their futures and to evaluate the steps that are going to have to be taken to reach their desired goals.  The results of the test give students and parents valuable information that may be used in the selection of high school courses.

For more information, you may want to view the following presentation.  At the end of the PowerPoint, there is a link to the EXPLORE site where you may conduct more research on this test.  Go to http://www.act.org/explore/downloads.html


All of our eighth graders will participate in High Flight in late October at the 4-H Center in Columbiana. Our Red Team students will go on Tuesday, December 10 (change due to weather cancellation on Monday, October 28); White Team on Tuesday, October 29 and Blue Team students on Wednesday, October 30.  Students will arrive at school at their normal time and will leave in their school buses around 8:15.  After spending the day at ‘High Flight’, students will return to Oak Mountain Middle School around 5:30 p.m. 

Our eighth graders have participated in High Flight for several years and this is always one of the highlights of their eighth grade year.  One half of the day is spent on a ‘low ropes course’ with certified ropes instructors and half the day is spent in a small group session. 

The ‘Low Ropes Course’ presents many challenges but through teamwork, success is achieved by all of the groups.  Communication skills, both listening and speaking, improve throughout the day.  Students will learn that quite often the first idea is not the best solution for solving a problem.  We relate that to their personal life and choices by stressing that when they are with their friends, they don’t need to automatically follow the first suggestion that is made.  It is better to consider many options and then make the best decision that they can.  Students learn the importance of teamwork and listening to everyone–not just the loudest voice.  It is constantly emphasized that,”If we can work together at High Flight, we can demonstrate the same skills of teamwork on campus at OMMS”.

The small group session is always very interesting.  The group topic this year is on bullying, conflict resolution, cliques, and accepting students with diverse backgrounds.  Students participate in many activities and learn new techniques and strategies for dealing with these issues.  It is emphasized that we have much more in common than differences with each other. 

Our students truly benefit from this day and always demonstrate that they are truly, ‘Nothing But the Best’.

TESTING FOR 2013/2014

Please schedule your vacation, doctor and dentist visits around these dates.  We usually finish testing around 11:15 A.M..

OCTOBER 23:  EXPLORE (There is no make-up for this test.)

MARCH 24 – MAY 2:  ACCESS (given to ELL-English Language Learners)


MAY 5 – 14:  ASPIRE (given to all 6th, 7th and 8th grade students)