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ERIC Number: ED501457
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Pages: 88
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 50
ISBN: ISBN-978-0-9787383-9-6
From High School to the Future: ACT Preparation--Too Much, Too Late. Why ACT Scores Are Low in Chicago and What It Means for Schools
Allensworth, Elaine; Correa, Macarena; Ponisciak, Steve
Consortium on Chicago School Research
The majority of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students are not attaining the ACT scores they are aiming for, which they need to qualify for scholarships and college acceptance. This report looks at the reasons behind students' low performance and what matters for doing well on this test. CPS students are highly motivated to do well on the ACT, and they are spending extraordinary amounts of time preparing for it. Most of the CPS students who took the ACT entered high school with eighth-grade test scores that met state standards and were on par with or better than state and national averages. However, the predominant ways in which students are preparing for the ACT are unlikely to help them do well on the test or to be ready for college-level work. Students are training for the ACT in a last-minute sprint focused on test practice, when the ACT requires years of hard work developing college-level skills. Key findings include: (1) Low ACT scores reflect poor alignment of standards from K-8 to high school and from high school to college; (2) Test strategies and item practice are not effective mechanisms for improving students' ACT scores; (3) ACT performance is directly related to students' performance in their courses; and (4) Incorporating the ACT into high school accountability is not an effective strategy for high school reform by itself, without accompanying strategies to work on instructional practice. Five appendixes include: (1) Sample ACT Questions; (2) Sample PLAN Exam Questions; (3) Content of ACT Math Subject Test as Described in the ACT Teachers' Manual; (4) Statistical Models; and (5) Survey Measures Used in Analyses. (Contains 90 endnotes, 30 figures, and 7 tables.)
Consortium on Chicago School Research. 1313 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 773-702-3364; Fax: 773-702-2010; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; William T. Grant Foundation; Spencer Foundation
Authoring Institution: Consortium on Chicago School Research
Identifiers - Location: Illinois
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: ACT Assessment