Experts say dismissing the ACT is a gamble

October 24, 2011

From “Experts say dismissing the ACT is a gamble” — 

BLACK RIVER FALLS — Katie Ross has no plans to take the ACT, even as she nears graduation. Her post-secondary ambitions are practical: Earn a two-year business degree. Find steady employment. Then, hopefully, make good money.

“I’m not looking into any four-years,” said the senior at Black River Falls High School. “It’s not for me.”

About 71 percent of Wisconsin high school graduates take the ACT, widely considered necessary for entering four-year colleges. But only three public school districts in the Coulee Region have test participation rates above state averages. In 11 districts — all rural — more students skip the test than take it.

Just 26.9 percent of high school seniors took the exam this year in La Farge. Low test rates also beset districts in Black River Falls (35.5 percent), Alma Center (36.7 percent), and  Royall (37.1 percent), where each school had its lowest participation rate in 15 years.

“I was sad, upset,” said Ashley Jilek, a counselor at Royall. “I thought we needed to do more on our end to get these kids involved.”

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