High schools preparing for new standardized test, academic stand - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

High schools preparing for new standardized test, academic standards

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Even though the academic standards that will be replacing Common Core in South Carolina schools are still being worked on, the new tests students will be taking are set and being administered in just a few months.

"That kind of alleviated a little of the frustration, as far as not knowing," said Kay Sellers, English and social studies instructional coach at Conway High School. "Now that we know what we're going into battle with, what we're going to face, now we can give students the tools so that they can face it and be effective.

The High School Assessment Program, or HSAP, is being replaced by the ACT.

It'll be the same ACT high school juniors take for college admissions, except now, it'll be free as Horry County School District and others across the state will be requiring all juniors to take it. Students will take the ACT and the ACT WorkKeys, which measures potential success in the workplace by ranking students on a scale of bronze to platinum.

"We feel like this is going to be a very valuable test for our students," said Kelly Wilson, math and science instructional coach at Conway High School. "It really gives them something they can use."

This spring, students in grades 3-8 will be taking math, writing, English and reading standardized tests through the ACT Aspire, meant to prepare students early on for the ACT.

"That's a big shift for those elementary kids," Wilson said. "My kids are in elementary school and they're a little nervous about that because the Aspire is timed."

The ACT will be given April 28 and ACT WorkKeys is set for April 29. Elementary and middle schools will give the ACT Aspire the same week.

This August, the state will require all districts to use standards they're still in the process of developing. The program those standards are under will be referred to as College and Career Readiness.

"We know that things are changing and we're not sitting around waiting for it to happen," Sellers said. "We are preparing and our teachers are preparing."

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