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School of Education Delivers Summer ACT Training for Local Students

This summer, the Saint Louis University School of Education partnered with St. Louis Public Schools to create an ACT prep program with the aim of creating a path to college for local high school students.

The ACT prep course was offered at Roosevelt High School in south St. Louis city as part of Roosevelt’s eight-week summer program, “Students of Excellence Summer Institute.” Along with the ACT prep course, Roosevelt students could also take Driver's Education, Auto Mechanics, Entrepreneurship and Business, Art Appreciation, and a Leadership Academy.

In its inaugural session, the ACT prep program was led by four tutors, all of whom are either current undergraduate students or recent alumni of Saint Louis University. The summer class met two days a week for 90-minute sessions and covered subjects like English, math, reading, and science. The students also learned general test-taking strategies by reviewing the format of the different types of ACT questions, practicing time management, and discussing the best ways to use logic and the process of elimination. One of the students enrolled in the program commented, “the things I am learning here are very helpful, and I feel more confident about the ACT.”

It is nice to see students that dread the ACT having fun during activities that are designed to help them prepare for it.”

Tessa Wheeler (A&S '19)

With the help of the tutors, the students set goals and worked to meet them over the course of the program. Students also have the opportunity to receive additional tutoring both before and after the class sessions.

"The best thing about working with the ACT prep course over the summer is the fact that the students are getting an opportunity to ready themselves for the ACT," said Tessa Wheeler (A&S '19), who tutored in the program this summer. "Many of our students are engaged in the activities we have planned and are taking their learning seriously. It is nice to see students that dread the ACT having fun during activities that are designed to help them prepare for it.”

There were about 40 students enrolled across all sections in the ACT prep classes. A typical class begins with the tutors checking in with each student. Next, the students work independently on a warm-up activity, which consists of a few practice questions. After that, the class typically breaks into small groups for lecture. Finally, class ends with an activity, such as a jeopardy game, which helps the students review and solidify what they’ve learned in a way that encourages them to actively participate.

 “I am hoping that the students come away from the program with the idea that, even though the ACT is not fun, it can help to open up many doors of opportunity,” said Wheeler. “I want the students to understand that the ACT does not determine your worth as a person or even a college student, but it is a beast that many people, like them, have had to take and have shown that it is conquerable.”

As it can be refined to meet the needs of each school, faculty and staff in the School of Education hope that this ACT prep program will grow to more partner schools and serve more students in the community throughout the year. 

To bring the program to your school, contact slued@slu.edu or 314-977-3292.