ACT prep class made available to students

Students now given the opportunity to take a semester-long class to prepare for the ACT


By Jack Lopez

Social studies teacher Jeff Wieland discusses the importance of practicing the ACT with his prep class on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The semester-long class ACT Test and College Preparation has been made available to students who wish to improve their ACT scores.

The class was added at the suggestion of the De Soto High School principal. At Mill Valley, it is taught by social studies teacher Jeff Wieland and math teacher Kristen Chavez. Half of the students in the class spend a quarter with Wieland to prepare for the reading and English sections, while the other half spends a quarter preparing for math and science with Chavez. The two groups swap teachers at the end of the first quarter.

Students have had the option to take an ACT preparation class in the past that is three sessions long over the course of three weeks. Wieland, a former private SAT tutor, likes that the new class allows more time for preparing students for the test.

“I think [the other preparation course] is a cram class,” Wieland said. “Whereas I think that class gives you last-minute ways to improve your score, this class gives us more time to … substantively learn material kids didn’t know because we have more time.”

Wieland said that whether or not the class will cover the writing section of the ACT will be at the discretion of the teacher.

“The problem with the writing portion is that it’s hard to fix these problems in a short period of time,” Wieland said.

Wieland hopes to keep improving the class to better aid students in ACT preparation.

“I’m glad to see the kids have embraced doing it,” Wieland said. “There are some growing pains … it’s still a work in progress, [and] it will probably be better next year, but I think kids will still benefit from what we’re doing now.”

Senior Drew Novak is taking the course so that he will have better expectations for what material will be on the test. He is currently reviewing math and science with Chavez.

“I’m taking this class so I can get a better feel for what the ACT is like so I can do well on the test,” Novak said. “We’re doing a lot of practice math problems and we’ve done a lot of previous ACTs, so it’s giving me a better feel for what kind of problems I’m going to run into during the actual ACT.”

Since 2008, the school’s average ACT score has risen from 23.0 to 24.0, which is above the state average of 21.8 and the national average of 20.9.

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