High school juniors throughout Missouri received a great gift last week when they took the ACT college entrance exam at no cost to them.
About 65,000 juniors statewide were eligibe to take the test. Missouri picked up the $50 cost for each student with $3.8 million to cover the expense. State Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven said the test helped determine whether students were “graduating college and career ready.” The ACT tests students in math, English, science and reading, determining whether teens can meet the academic challenges of college.
It is one of the two most common college entrance exams, along with the SAT. The state’s decision to use the ACT as measure for high school juniors instead of a different, less relevant, test makes a lot of sense.
Missouri joins 17 other states in paying for all juniors to take the ACT. The state’s participation rate was 76 percent of graduating seniors in 2014. Students who may have been priced out of the test no longer have that worry. Vandeven hoped for a 90 percent participation rate.
Students often take the ACT multiple times. Some also take ACT prep courses to try to boost their scores.
The cost savings provided by the state takes a little of the pressure off students and their families. How well the teens perform then rests with the students and the schools.