Staff Ed: new ACT classes are a good start, but need improvement

BSM’s new ACT prep classes have received criticism, but ultimately have provided a beneficial resource for students.

BSM has added a new ACT prep class for all juniors this year. The class takes place once a week during one of each student’s block period, and students have one practice section to complete each week for homework. The class provides tutoring for all four sections of the ACT test and is split up between two different instructors who specialize in different sections of the test.

Although the idea of having an ACT class in school sounds ideal for students, there are many downsides mainly due to the lack of preparation and options relating to the class.

One of the main issues that many students have with the ACT class is how little of a say they had with it. Although many students do want to prepare for their ACT tests, it is unreasonable to assume that all students prioritize the test to the same degree. Some students have never planned on taking the ACT, but they are still forced to take the class anyway. Others who have already taken the test and are satisfied with their score aren’t planning on taking the test again, yet they were still being forced to attend the class as well. This becomes frustrating for these students due to the fact that the class was a complete waste of time for them.

There are two simple solutions to this problem. The first would be to let the parents decide when and if their child takes the class. This would allow parents to determine what their child takes, rather than the school. The other and more preferable option would be to simply let the students decide whether or not they will take the class. Since everybody is currently being forced to take the class, not everyone takes it seriously, which sometimes creates an unfocused class environment. If everyone who was in the class wanted to be there, the class would become more effective and productive.

Along with making it a choice to enroll in the class in order to improve productivity, it is essential for BSM to select instructors for the class that not only know the tricks and tips for the ACT, but can teach it in a class environment as well. Teaching in a class setting is not always what ACT instructors are used to. Instructors often give their students help in a one-on-one setting. Since the ACT classes are about 25 students each, the instructors should have past experience with these numbers in order for the class to function properly.

On the other hand, the ACT prep class has positive aspects too. For instance, it saves money for the students by having the cost of this course rolled in with the BSM tuition. Some ACT prep classes can cost loads, which not all students can afford, and still not show strong results for the amount charged. Not only does the course cut down money spent, but it also cuts down the time traveled: the class is on campus, making it hassle-free and a huge time saver.

Although it might not be ideal, starting the study process early for the ACT is a smart choice. The longer you hold off studying for this exam, the more other things are going to pile up, along with a massive stress build up. By BSM providing this class, students are eased into the study sessions and can learn what this type of class has to offer. If BSM’s specific class is not enough, at least there is a basic ground of knowledge built, which can be added upon by other various prep classes.

The introduction of ACT prep classes in school provides a great opportunity for students, especially given that BSM is a college prep school; however, they have many flaws that could be improved upon to make the class more worthwhile and effective.