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All Wasatch High School Juniors to Take ACT as Part of State Pilot

By: Morgan Murdock
Wasatch County School District Assessment and Secondary Curriculum Specialist

On March 1 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. all juniors at Wasatch High School will be taking the ACT at no charge as part of a two-year state pilot. Last year, former district assessment specialist and current assistant principal at Wasatch High School, Tod Johnson, learned of the Utah High School Pilot. He applied and the Wasatch School District was approved to participate. Through this pilot the Wasatch School District is reimbursed by the state for the costs of the materials and scoring of the Explore Test (grades 8 and 9), the Plan Test (grade 10) and the ACT (grade 11). All three tests show students’ strengths and weaknesses in English, math, reading, and science. The Explore and Plan tests additionally help students clarify goals as they plan for the future. The tests have an interest inventory component which provides students with information about their skills and some careers they may wish to explore. The overall focus of all three tests is college and career readiness. On the ACT, juniors are able to select up to four colleges and universities they would like to receive their scores.

In January, Wasatch High School Principal, Paul Sweat, sent a letter to the home of each 11th grade student informing them of this opportunity. He wrote, “The ACT has increasingly become a popular indicator of student academic achievement and is a requirement for admissions and placement at most colleges in the United States. Wasatch High School has made preparing for the ACT a top priority in making curriculum decisions, recommending courses, establishing policies, and developing strategies for high quality instruction. Students can prepare for the ACT by taking as rigorous of an academic course load as they are able, continuing the habit of reading and doing homework every night, and familiarizing themselves with the ACT. To help students review and practice for the test, Wasatch will be offering an ACT prep class held before school.”

He informed students and parents that in order to accommodate for all juniors to test on March 1, Superintendent Shoemaker has approved a late start on that day for the 9th, 10th, and 12th grade students. Those high school students who will not be taking the ACT will arrive at school at 10 a.m. All 11th grade students will start at the usual time, 7:55 a.m. Juniors will be expected to come to school that day with photo identification, sharpened number 2 pencils, and an approved calculator in preparation to take the test. Lunch will begin after the test is over at 11:30 a.m., and school will end at the usual time, 2:30 p.m.

Mr. Sweat concluded, “Wasatch High School looks forward to this opportunity to work with students on the ACT as a measure of each student’s preparation to participate in our society and become college and career ready.”

The data from these tests is not only valuable to students, parents, and universities, but is also used by counselors, teachers, and administrators. The Wasatch School District encourages all juniors to prepare for and give their best effort on the ACT. The district also expresses appreciation for the efforts of all those responsible for the facilitation and administration of these three tests.

For additional information regarding the ACT visit To learn about permissible calculators enter “calculator” as a keyword search. For more information regarding the Utah High School Pilot in Wasatch contact Morgan Murdock at 435-654-0280 Ext. 4139 or at

BY MORGAN MURDOCK   02/17/2011

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