Alabama embraces new learning assessment exams - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Alabama embraces new learning assessment exams

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The ACT is a standard for college applications in all 50 states. Now, it's a standard for Alabama's public schools. 

Beginning Wednesday, every 11th grader will take the ACT for free, replacing the high school graduation exam. Both tests have staggering differences, for teachers and students. The ACT only takes a matter of hours, whereas the graduation exam required an entire week. 

Elmore County School's Director of Secondary Education, Steve McKenzie, says teachers have been preparing students for the ACT for weeks. "It's huge for students, I think they truly will take it more seriously  When you say ACT, the students and people in the community know what you are talking about."

The students will take the test in their own classroom, as opposed to a testing site on an early Saturday morning. 

The college exam is only one portion of the state's new ACT testing suite. Third through 8th graders will take the ACT Aspire. Eighth and above will be tested with the ACT Explorer. 

Every test building up to the 11th grade college exam, replacing the Alabama Reading and Math test, "It just makes sense, we will be able to use the data to be able to adjust instruction to meet the needs of our students."

Malissa Valdes-Hubert with the State Department of Education says the costs for the ACT testing suite are comparable to the former tests, funded by the assessment budget. "By dropping the older tests, and moving to these relevant tests, we are using a very similar budget," she says.

The initial costs will add up to about $2.7 million, the latest effort to make Alabama's students college and career ready.

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