This Fall, Decatur’s high schools started their second year using John Baylor Test Prep to help students get ready to take the ACT. For the past three years, every 11th-grade student in the state of Alabama has taken the ACT as a way to measure the effectiveness of education among the state’s school districts. While the test for standards is changing this year, the ACT remains an important exam for many students in our district.
Often a student’s ACT score determines whether or not the student is eligible to attend the university of their choice. After acceptance, their score will help the scholarship office decide whether or not to grant the student scholarship money to attend. With the high cost of attendance for both two- and four-year institutions, scholarship money can be the deciding factor in whether a student will seek post-secondary education.
John Baylor Test Prep provides students with online access to test-prep sessions for the ACT, Pre-SAT, and SAT—all of which are important standardized tests for the college admissions process. In addition, it provides curriculum to help teachers provide test prep in the class room. Both Austin High School and Decatur High School are using the curriculum to provide targeted test prep classes for their students, and it seems to be working! Dr. Melissa Scott, Principal of Austin High School, reports, “The average composite 2015–2016 ACT score for AHS increased 1.1 points from the previous year. This is substantially more than the 0.4-point increase seen by the state.”
Johnny Berry, the principal at Decatur High, has seen results in his faculty as well. He says, “John Baylor Prep has had a tremendous effect on the culture at Decatur High School. Our staff understands the importance of the program and are dedicated to creating the most efficient learning environment possible to improve student achievement.”
For Representative Collins, the choice to fund this program seems easy. She remarks, “I am very pleased to have Community Grant Education dollars to help the DCS students prepare to do well on the ACT test. The prep program is expensive, but it has proven data showing large gains in student success, and I want that for all Decatur students.”
We are thankful to have a representative willing to fund important programs for our students and our community!