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