North Carolina’s First Required ACT Exam: What it Means for Students

north carolina act exam juniorsBy Taylor Cotter Staff

The American College Test, known nationwide as the ACT, has become more than just an SAT alternative for North Carolina students. Beginning this March, all public and charter North Carolina high school juniors will be required to take the ACT, while the state  foots the bill.

Lloyd M. Scott, director of admissions at Appalachian State University, said in a press release that other states that have moved to mandate the ACT early in a student’s high school career have seen the college-going rate of their high school graduates increase as a result.

North Carolina has a high school dropout rate of 2.55 percent (2009-2010) and about 14.2 students opt not to enroll in higher education of any kind (2011). Ultimately, North Carolina hopes by mandating the ACT, more students will discover their potential as college students and be able to plan accordingly.

Additionally, the state will be offering an ACT college readiness test called “PLAN” for students during their sophomore year.

“It’s almost like an academic early intervention that allows counselors and parents to work with and inform students early on about what they need academically to get into college,” says Jane Rex, director of Appalachian’s Office of Transfer Articulation and a N.C. representative for ACT.

Like most coastal states, the majority of North Carolina students take the SAT. By offering the ACT for free, students will be able to apply to more ACT-accepting colleges and use it to supplement their applications at SAT colleges. Additionally, ACT score reporting is comprehensive and offers students insight into their scores, as well as providing students with ideas about prospective job paths. Ultimately, giving the ACT to all students will likely provide helpful insight into their potential in both college and career.

For more information visit the ACT North Carolina State Testing Website.

Photo: Gates Foundation


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