Students test experimental online ACT

Students+avoid+stress+for+the+ACT+through+preparation%3B+45.1+percent+of+Lemont+juniors+report+using+self-study+prep+books.+%E2%80%9CGetting+ready+for+the+ACT+can+be+a+stressful+time+of+year%2C+but+I+try+to+alleviate+the+pressure+by+using+my+test+prep+book%2C%E2%80%9D+said+junior+Chloe+Kwasigroch.

Nour Longi

Students avoid stress for the ACT through preparation; 45.1 percent of Lemont juniors report using self-study prep books. “Getting ready for the ACT can be a stressful time of year, but I try to alleviate the pressure by using my test prep book,” said junior Chloe Kwasigroch.

Michael Haughey, News Editor

On Saturday, Feb. 8, juniors tested an experimental ACT at the school, where testers were split into groups who took either an electronic or paper version of the exam; the organization hopes to gain information about the future of electronic testing.

A survey was sent out in October to vet prospective schools for the pilot program. The first electronic tests were distributed in December, and Lemont was considered for the February test date due to their one-to-one Chromebook system.

150 free test vouchers were given as an incentive for students to take the test. Councolers contacted students who expressed interest through a Google form to sign-up for the free exam.

“First of all, I think it’s good to get experience with online assessments, and it was going to be free so it was good for our students,” said director of assessment Tina Malak.

Students were randomly assigned electronic and paper tests; however, some students faced opposition to taking an electronic test. In a survey of 56 juniors, 60.7 percent of students expressed a preference for taking a paper test.

“I prefer taking the ACT on paper because I prefer to annotate the test, and the paper relaxes my pupils and allows them to dilate,” said junior Devin Shah. Most students agree with him: 37.5 percent of juniors – with five being the highest – marked their preference for taking the test on paper as a five.

Despite becoming a more popular medium of test-taking, electronic tests are not favored by students. Only 12.5 percent of juniors had the highest preference for taking the electronic test. 

However, following the ACT, some students’ attitudes surrounding the electronic version changed. “I prefer the ACT online because everything looks more organized, and I can stay focused longer since I am always on technology anyways,” said junior Kelsi Padalia.

Prior to the test, students were unaware of which version of the test they would be assigned. Electronic resources were most popular amongst juniors – 54.9 percent reported they used online tools for test prep.

As for the future of electronic testing at Lemont, programs such as Mastery Manager have integrated online testing into the curriculum. “I think that assessment has become much more authentic. You are able to show what you’re learning rather than filling in a bubble,” said Malak.