Students across Oklahoma took one of the most important tests of their high school career this week.
Schools across the state hosted tests on ACT’s fall date for District Testing on Tuesday. The District Testing date allows schools to give the ACT test on-site and during the school day, which can potentially allow more students access to the test.
“It’s great for students who may not be able to travel or get to a testing location on a Saturday,” Angela Wade, Lone Grove High School counselor, said. She said some students have obligations or don’t have the means to get to a testing location on the normal Saturday dates, so the District Test date allows those students the chance to take the ACT.
At Lone Grove, Wade said both juniors and seniors could take the test at the school. She said about 55 students took the test on Tuesday. The daytime test usually has a higher signup percentage than normal dates because of its wide accessibility, according to Wade. This is the third year Lone Grove has offered an ACT test during the school day.
Wade said the test also provides seniors another chance to increase their score before college entrance applications are due. She said many colleges have October or November admission deadlines.
Students in Lone Grove, Marietta, Springer, Ardmore and other surrounding communities took the ACT at their schools on Tuesday. Ardmore High School offered the test to juniors on Tuesday at no cost, thanks to the federal program GEAR UP, which ACS is partnered with. Ardmore High School senior counselor Dena York said the testing date went well and a large portion of the junior class took the test.
“Everybody did a great job on it,” York said of the testing. “The students were focused and the teachers helped a lot it went very well.”
She said 159 of 195 juniors at AHS took the ACT, which is a much higher percentage than normal test dates. York said they create a roster of juniors and send it to GEAR UP, who makes labels and sends them to the school for the test.   
“We have found kids who usually wouldn’t take the ACT take it when we do this,” she said. “So it really increases the number of students who take the test.”
Last spring, the Oklahoma State Department of Education offered an ACT pilot program that enabled all public high school juniors in the state to take the exam at no cost to districts or students. Nearly every eligible high school participated, with 457 of 459 taking advantage of the voluntary program, according to the OSDE’s website.
In all, 35,477 juniors took the ACT as part of the initiative last year. With the district testing dates, York said the number of students that took the ACT should only increase.
She said the test, since it is paid for by GEAR UP, allows students who can’t afford the test the chance to take it. With the ACT being tied to concurrent enrollment, college admission and scholarships, the importance of taking the ACT is significant. York said having the test during a school day increases the number of students that can take the test, thus increasing their chances of success and potentially inspiring their decisions after high school.
“A student may take it and then get results and see they did well and think ‘maybe I will go to college,’ when they previously may not have given it any thought.”