Schools steer students toward early college, career planning

By Pixie Sulser

Olive Peirce Middle School and Ramona High School are encouraging students to look to the future early as part of a seventh- through 12th-grade focus on college and career planning.

For the first time, both schools provided students with opportunities to engage in assessments designed to help create personalized study plans, putting the students on a path toward their future goals.

Eighth-graders at Olive Peirce Middle School recently completed ACT EXPLORE.

“Approximately 415 students participated in the test,” said eighth-grade counselor Michele Mauney. “Giving the assessment is part of our school’s continued drive toward college and career readiness. The students were excited, and it opened the eyes for many as far as possible career choices. It planted a seed, which is great.”

The counseling department at Ramona High School organized a “Discover Your Future Day” earlier in the school year, offering every student the opportunity to participate in some form of preparatory assessment. Freshmen students took The PLAN, a second phase of the assessment OPMS eighth-graders completed, while sophomores and juniors focused on the PSAT/NMSQT.

Not to be left out, juniors and seniors had the chance to take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), a test originally designed to predict future academic and occupational success in military occupations. The ASVAB is now used for non-military career planning and exploration. The evaluation combines a multiple aptitude test with an interest self-assessment.

RHS counselor Tocarra Best explained that these assessments provide students, parents, and counselors with data to analyze as they work together to select classes and investigate college and/or career options as well as provide students with test taking practice.

“Practice tests help students analyze their progress in tested areas, provide study tips, and can help with class selection for high school,” said Best.

Tests, such as the ACT EXPLORE, The PLAN, the PSAT, and the ASVAB are designed to provide students with an idea of their academic strengths and weaknesses in a testing situation and to share improvement strategies before students take the real thing, said Best. The results from the preliminary or practice tests narrow study areas for students so they can focus on specific skills that could result in higher scores later.

The majority of four-year colleges and universities require applicants to have scores from either the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or the ACT (American College Test) as part of the application process. With acceptance into college becoming increasingly competitive, these test results can be more important than ever.

A perfect score on the SAT is 2400, while on the ACT the perfect score is 36. Community colleges use certain scores to waive lower level math and English classes.

Best explained that prior to taking the SAT or ACT many students engage in test preparation courses which “can be pretty costly.” Because Ramona Unified School District paid for all practice tests, “this was a free resource for our students. The practice test results are not sent to any college, only to the student. They are no pressure tests.”

OPMS eighth-graders will receive their ACT EXPLORE scores in March or April. Ramona High School students have already received their scores for the various tests given. Based on the assessment, scores were disseminated at a Parent Information Night in January, through the counseling office, and in freshmen and sophomore English classes.

The test results may assist students at both sites as they register for next year’s classes this month. The RHS counseling department has several informational Parent Nights scheduled to assist parents in helping their students chart their high school courses. Dates and times may be obtained from the RHS counseling web page.

Parents and students are also invited to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a counselor to discuss individual four-year plans. Call the counseling office at 760-787-4022 to schedule an appointment.

Related posts:

  1. College and Career Readiness Week at RHS
  2. College and Career Readiness Week kicks off May 18
  3. Getting college and career ready in middle and high school
  4. College Night helps students, parents navigate
  5. Middle school NJHS students stage College Week

Short URL: http://www.ramonasentinel.com/?p=11684

Posted by Staff on Mar 18 2012. Filed under Schools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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