DHS approved as ACT test site

Published 10:40 pm Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Demopolis High School has been approved as a testing site for the ACT test, taken by high school students as a qualifier for college attendance.

The first ACT to be hosted by the school will be on Dec. 13, and DHS will follow the ACT schedule thereafter.

“Sometime a while back it dawned on us that our students were getting in their vehicles and going to Tuscaloosa, Livingston, Linden and Butler to take the ACT,” said DHS principal Dr. Isaac Espy Jr. “I made some contacts with the national Act people and got some information filled out, and about three weeks ago, we got the good news that we were approved as an ACT testing site.

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“That is some of the best news that we’ve heard in quite some time. It means that instead of our children leaving an hour early, trying to find a college building in Livingston that they don’t have a clue where it is, they don’t know where Room 251 is. They’re nervous. They don’t have their minds on the ACT. They have their minds on finding the building and trying to hack their way through a building to find a certain room, making sure they have everything. They have test administrators that they’re unfamiliar with.

“To go from that to this, it’s like having the home-field advantage in a ballgame,” he said. “Our test administrators will be teachers, people that they know. And our teachers are very experienced in giving tests: the Alabama High School Gradua-tion Exam, ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) and the PLAN test (a preliminary test to the ACT). All of these tests are given on our campus, and they’re high-security tests, and the ACT will be, too. Our teachers and test coordinators are looking forward to the opportunity to take some of this burden off of our students.

“We’ll do anything we have to, or that we find that we can do, to give our students an advantage. I had an old football coach tell me one time, ‘If you have an advantage, you’d better take it.’ That’s simple advice, but how true is that! We feel like it’s an advantage for our students.”

Having an ACT test site in Demopolis may also prove beneficial for students from other nearby schools who would otherwise have to go farther to take the ACT. Students from John Essex, Sunshine, Greensboro and Southern Academy are among those who could benefit from taking the ACT in Demopolis.

“The last few years, it’s made such a difference,” said Espy. “ACT camps, integrating ACT standards into the curriculum, even students will come into classes, and teachers will have a warm-up problem from ACT test material, and they’ll tell them that this will be on the ACT.

“Our students are very competitive. We have a Super Senior Scholarship program where students win nice cash scholarships with the top five ACT scores. It’s very competitive, and our scores have reflected that competitiveness and preparation. We’ve gone from a high score a few years ago of 31 to last year’s high score of 33, and this year, the high score so far is 34 (the best score is a 36).”