POSTED: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 6:00pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 6:04pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — For the first time the Department of Education tried something new for the 2012 school year, they required each eligible student to take the ACT test, thought the average score dipped, officials have still called it a success.
Both Joel Diggs and Quincy Jackson have already taken advantage of their first shot at the free ACT paid for by the Department of Education.
"It wasn't really like a nerve-wracking experience for me. I just went in there thinking it was a normal test, like usual," said Diggs.
"So far I’ve taken the ACT two times, it's getting easier, but I am still working on it," shared Senior Quincy Jackson.
While they've already taken the test at least once both do plan on taking it again, but they're happy to see everybody getting at least one shot at the college readiness test.
“It’s a good idea because everybody doesn't have the support or the money to take the test all the time. So it's a good thing that they give vouchers and stuff for people to take their tests," said Jackson.
"A lot of students can't afford it, and a lot of students don't want to take it, period. So this is an opportunity, if they don't want to they still have to take it at school because it's mandatory, and they can see what they get," agreed Diggs.
In the first year of mandatory testing scores dipped to an average of 19.5, down from the average 20.3 average last year. Superintendent John White explained that with more students taking the test, the average was almost bound to decrease.
"I think it's worth increasing the pool to have 4,000 kids who never would have taken the test, to take the test," explained White.
Superintendent White went on to explain that the point of the required testing isn't to get the best averages, it's to get every student the chance at being college ready.
"They have an ACT score, that's a college going score, in their pocket, that they never would have had because had they not been required to take the test, they would have never have taken the test," said White.
Only ten states in the country require all of their students to take the ACT. The ACT scores will also be factored in to a schools general grade score, which was another reason for the required testing of students.