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Clinton’s Focus on ACT, Set to Improve Scores and Accountability

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Clinton’s Focus on ACT, Set to Improve Scores and Accountability

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Ashley Omerza, Staff Writer

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On Feb. 27, Juniors at CHS will take the ACT. At the same time, Sophomores will take a practice ACT.

To prepare for this test, juniors took a practice ACT on January 10, and the school has been using this information to prepare for the real thing in February.

CHS Assistant Principal Dr. Brock Ratcliff has been heading up the efforts towards improving Clinton students’ scores. “First, I did some analysis last year and discovered that 46 percent of the class of 2018 took the ACT for the first time on February 28, 2017,” Ratcliff said.

“That means that almost half of the juniors at CHS walked into that test having no experience with the test whatsoever. Even the smartest student would do better on a test if they had experienced it before, therefore our district decided to have the entire class of 2019 have a practice test. That way, every junior has at least had the experience of sitting and taking the ACT for its full duration and at least knows what to expect when the real thing comes.” Dr. Ratcliff explains.

Ratcliff said the school purchased a set of practice tests which allowed him and the staff to analyze areas where students could use individualized help to better improve their scores. “These reports will help each student target areas of weakness so that they might better prepare for the real ACT, and thus earn a higher score,” Ratcliff added.

“The sophomores will certainly have more time to take advantage of the score reports, but even the juniors should have approximately a month to improve their skills.”

This is the first year that students got to take a practice test, which opens the door for positive change in the future.

“So for the class of 2019, I think the impact will be positive, but not as great as in future years. For the sophomores, this will be the beginning of what I hope will be an upward trend in our ACT scores as a school,” Dr. Ratcliff says. “The higher our students score on the ACT, the points we earn as a school and as a district. This is VERY important to the leadership of CPSD and to the city of Clinton.”

The ACT and Accountability

The ACT is being more and more important in school accountiblity, even possibly being able to help with graduation.

“If a student has not passed one of the state graduation exams (Algebra 1, English 2, Biology, or US History), they can use a certain ACT score to justify their graduation.” Ratcliff said. ”

Think about that for a moment—Mississippi is saying that the ACT sub-scores are just as valid as the state graduation exams. It’s not such a stretch, then, to imagine a day when the ACT sub-scores are the graduation requirements. In that scenario, the ACT could be the most important thing CHS does to ensure graduation for its students,” Ratcliff says excitedly.

The 30+ Club

Dr. Ratcliff is the sponsor of the 30+ Club and says the club is his “pride and joy.”

With the new addition of a practice ACT, the future of the 30+ Club looks bright.

“We had a great initial year in 2016-2017, and have already surpassed the number of students in the Club last year.” Ratcliff said.

“As of today, we have 46 students with a 30 or higher. That is a remarkable accomplishment for our student body, and it’s certainly worth cheering about.”

He added, “I expect the Club to continue to grow this year, as students take the test in February and April.”

As juniors prepare the take the ACT on February 27th, Clinton High School teachers and administration cheer them on.

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Clinton’s Focus on ACT, Set to Improve Scores and Accountability