Newly elected chairwoman of the ACT State of Maine Organization, Leslie Trundy of Bath, has a vision to have an ACT test site in each county in the state.

For the 2012-13 test year, Maine has 30 test centers registered to give the test. There are three counties without test sites (Hancock, Lincoln and Washington) which means college-bound juniors and seniors might have to travel a long distance to take this college placement exam.

Standardized testing scores are used by students to apply to college as well as qualify for college scholarships.

At Morse High School, where Trundy works as a school counselor, an increasing number of students have opted to take the ACT.

“We are proud of our targeted support for this alternative standardized test,” Trundy said. “All students are now taking the SAT as part of the state initiative, but for some students the ACT may be a better predictor of their college readiness.”

Over the past 11 years, Trundy says, Morse has seen an increase from 11 students out of 902 in the state taking this test to 28 out of 1,476 in 2011.

“We attribute the increase in the number of students at Morse taking this test to our work to promote and support the test as an alternative for our students,” she said.

Morse also has seen a slight increase in the overall average composite score from 20 in 2002 to 24.5 in 2011.

The ACT gives students a breakdown in scores with an average for English, math, reading and science as well as the composite score.

Trundy’s goal as the chair of the state organization is to make sure all high schools recognize the importance of offering students the chance to take this alternative testing option. Her own research and that of the ACT indicates that for some students the ACT can be a better test to show their abilities and help them be evaluated for admission to the college of their choice.

With the state’s move away from the SAT as the standardized test for the No Child Left Behind Act testing requirements scheduled to begin with the class of 2017, high schools will be in a position to re-evaluate the testing they offer at their schools. Through the spring of 2015, schools are currently required by the state to administer the SAT.

It is Trundy’s hope that more high schools and even colleges throughout the state will become test centers for the ACT.

“It is best practice to be a test center for both tests, offering each test at least once in the fall and once in the spring. In doing this, more students will have the benefit of taking the test near their home,” she said.

Both the College Board and the ACT reimburse the test day employees for their additional time coordinating the testing.

Students register to take the ACT through the website www.act.org. Deadlines to register are well before the test dates. There is a fee to take the test of $35 for the standard test and $50.50 if the student opts to take the ACT plus writing.

Fee waivers are available for qualifying students.

The ACT is accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the United States. Unlike the SAT, which requires students take the writing section, the ACT allows students the option to take the writing portion.

“Our advice to students is to take both the ACT and the SAT which gives them more then one test score to evaluate their abilities,” Trundy said. “The SAT has received a lot of statewide attention but the ACT remains a great value and predictor test for Maine families with college-bound students.”

To become a test center, schools and colleges can signup on line at www.act.org/aap/forms/tcsignup. php.

Trundy also welcomes schools and colleges to contact her with questions about becoming a test center at [email protected]

¦ WHAT IS ‘ACT?’ ACT testing is partnered with the Common Core State Standards Initiative. More and more states, such as Maine, are using ACT testing and instructional improvement programs statewide to improve the college and work readiness of their students. The Maine Organization is an independent body facilitating communications between ACT, schools and colleges.

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