Evaluating the ACT


Erin Pickert

A practice ACT science passage asks students to interpret the effect of temperature on solubility.

Erin Pickert, Staff Reporter

The ACT- the American College Test- each year evaluates millions of American students with a single number ranging up to 36. Each year, this simple number dictates the next few academic years of a student’s life- and sometimes success.

Can a student correct a sentence fragment? Can a student evaluate the effect of certain amounts of rainfall on different types of soil? While each question evaluates the extent to which they have success in the core subjects in their education, the ACT fails to include other talents besides English, reading, math and science.

I have peers at De Soto High School who have a brilliant mechanical brain who can fix anything in their hands. I know peers that can make music so moving you will tear up in your seat. The classmates that surround me everyday make transfixing art. They can take the stage and have you glued to your seat as they beautifully capture the emotion of a character that they play. Students who I share these hallways with are able to master a second language like an art form.

Yet there they sit, on a Saturday morning for four hours, interpreting data and adding commas where needed to a passage about CO2 in the atmosphere.

Hopefully, they were able to sleep an adequate amount and eat enough to sustain them for a grueling four hour exam.

Though, knowing myself and fellow peers who struggle from test anxiety, sleep and food are hard to force upon ourselves. Knowing how much this test could be worth — thousands upon thousands of dollars and scholarships — the test is not to be taken lightly.

Throughout the past year that I have been studying to improve my ACT scores, I have been frequently reminded how much another singular point is worth.

And so what do I do? I stress myself out. Thousands of dollars are on the line. The number I receive may determine where I study in the upcoming years of my academic career.

Colleges and universities don’t know how well my peers and I play our instruments or sing in the choir, how many hours we volunteer our time for in the De Soto community. They can’t see how late we stay up to perfect our essays and to work tirelessly to finish our projects. No, they don’t see those hours when the preservering and dedicated students are revealed.They see the four hours when good test takers are revealed.

Of course the ACT evaluates students as well as they can. Sure, exceptionally bright students shine and are benefitted from such an exam. But let’s not forget about those brilliant minds that shine in the art room, theatre, band room, in the auto shop or wherever it is that a student’s true, amazing mind is revealed.