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Juniors will be out of their regular classes for four hours for the ACT, and a number of regular classes are being displaced for the test. Panning-Miller noted that the test won’t include the ACT writing test. ACT spokesman Ed Colby said the writing test is required by fewer than 25 percent of colleges. Landry said the writing test would require another 45 minutes and cost $15 more per test.
The free test given by the district will include English, math, reading and science.
A look at test strategy
All high schools offered ACT prep opportunities for the more than 1,700 juniors who are taking the test. Washburn is offering four prep options to its 272 juniors, and Coronel is one of 50 students selected for an hour weekly of test preparation techniques taught by Princeton Review representatives for six weeks, a $300 course that the district pays for.
In a recent class, Princeton Review teacher Andrea Gregory helped them with test strategy: Review the question on a reading passage before reading the passage itself to pinpoint information that’s being sought. She told them that vague answers are often wrong. She advised answering the questions that look easiest first, and that there’s no penalty for guessing on the hardest ones.
The district’s hoped-for outcome is that more students will consider college, and that some who thought they were two-year college material will find that they have the tools to tackle a four-year school.
That’s what Mounds View found with its universal ACT. “We’re very proud of it and we think it’s making a significant difference for our kids,” Hoverman said.
Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438 Twitter: @brandtstrib