What if your son, an Alabama high school sophomore, was told he couldn’t bring a calculator to the ACT test, only to find out months later that other students in the state had no such restriction? You'd be pretty upset, right?
That’s the situation many Randolph County High School (RCHS) parents found themselves in after their children took the ACT in October 2014.
How the Miscommunication OccurredThe day before the test, a staff member from the central office emailed all high schools in the district with specific instructions to not allow students to use calculators on the ACT. This instruction was incorrect.
At RCHS, students took the test in three groups. Two of the three groups followed the staff member’s emailed instructions, but the third group, headed by a teacher with specific ACT training, knew the students should be allowed to use calculators and therefore permitted it.
Resolving the MiscommunicationThe first and perhaps most obvious suggestion was to allow all students to retake the math portion of the ACT with calculators in hand. Another suggestion was to drop the math score from students’ transcripts altogether. A statement would be included with transcripts to explain the omission when students submitted their ACT scores to college admissions.
This second suggestion is the one the State Department of Education will implement. RCHS’ superintendent, Rance Kirby, is disappointed by the outcome of the miscommunication . He says he asked the state department to allow students to retake the ACT but was denied.
Many families of RCHS students also believe this is unfair because their students didn’t have the opportunity to do their best. While the math portion may be removed for college admissions’ purposes, the low scores are still accounted for when assessing the school’s overall performance and for deciding eligibility for summer programs.
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