A new direction for education?
Everyone knows that equal helpings of reading, writing and arithmetic are the key ingredients for the best learning environment.
However, the public education system has struggled in finding the correct combination of flavors to help teachers and students flourish in an often-confusing sea of alphabet soup.
(Read all of this week's stories from Walworth County Sunday HERE. )
But State Superintendent Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Instruction have introduced a new recipe that features one tried and true ingredient — the ACT.
And principal players around Walworth County said they’re excited about the new approach and strategies.
Evers announced on Sept. 12, as part of the DPI’s Agenda 2017 goals and the state’s No Child Left Behind waiver, that all public high school juniors would take the ACT college admissions test under an initiative that includes the four-part ACT suite for career planning and achievement.
Ninth-grade students would take the ACT Explore assessment in spring of the 2014-’15 school year. The ACT Plan would be administered in 10th grade and the ACT and WorkKeys assessments in 11th grade.
WorkKeys provides a job skill assessment that helps students prepare for the work force regardless of whether they plan to go directly into employment, train for a trade or pursue a technical college or university degree before working.
The overall plan would replace the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination, which covers math, reading and English language arts and is administered to sophomores each fall. According to the DPI, the new package improves college and career readiness measures and much better meets accountability standards.
Jan Eckola is the director of curriculum and instruction with Lake Geneva schools and said that the ACT suite is a huge step in the right direction.
“There’s a lot happening and we’re learning every day,” Eckola said of meeting Common Core state standards. “As a district, we’ve been realigning our curriculum to meet these major shifts from the WKCE because it just doesn’t mesh with the new standards. The ACT and three other tests provide better indications of students’ proficiency and direction in getting them ready for college, a career, the military or whatever. It’s all about getting them prepared to succeed.”
To that end, Badger High School already offers an ACT prep class. But Eckola pointed out that this doesn’t mean they’re teaching to the test.