NeSA Out; ACT In: with a new bill passed, NeSA is gone. What does that mean for students?

NeSA Out; ACT In: with a new bill passed, NeSA is gone. What does that mean for students?

By Paulo Gross – NeSA, ACT, SAT, PSAT, NMSQT: these are acronyms that we high school students dread. On April 13th this year, our Nebraska legislature passed Bill 930, in a 46-1-2 vote. This bill was to, “Change provisions relating to statewide assessments and college admission testing as prescribed,” much to this state’s students’ delight.

By Paulo Gross –
NeSA, ACT, SAT, PSAT, NMSQT: these are acronyms that we high school students dread. On April 13th this year, our Nebraska legislature passed Bill 930, in a 46-1-2 vote. This bill was to, “Change provisions relating to statewide assessments and college admission testing as prescribed,” much to this state’s students’ delight. The NeSA is a standardized test that Nebraska has been using to gather data on its students, data that is used to make decisions in our Unicameral on our education. It is taken in the fifth, eighth and eleventh grade years. It has never been something that has much of an effect on an individual student’s life, as it has never been part of a student’s permanent record.

Its main purpose has been to give lawmakers numbers to appraise. A student’s performance on the ACT, however, can have drastic ramifications on their whole life. Those scores go to colleges, and a low score can lead to a college accepting you or not.

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The ACT will be administered for Juniors on April 19, 2017 at LHS for free. Only eleventh graders will come to school that day, specifically for that test. Information on other dates will be posted in the counseling office. It normally costs normally costs $39.50. If the Writing portion is also taken the cost is $56.50.

Matt Gerber, one of the Instructional Coordinators at Lincoln High School, has the responsibility of coordinating the tests here at LHS. Our interview with him shed some light on this subject.The juniors this year will not have to take any part of the NeSa, but the fifth and eighth graders will. As Gerber explains it, a big difference between the two is that NeSA looks at what a student has learned, while the ACT shows a student’s ability to learn and apply knowledge.

Gerber says that, “The NeSA is a fine test, but it didn’t determine college readiness, it tested how students were doing against the standards in place in the state of Nebraska.” Gerber thinks that the way that Nebraska Public schools have prepared us for the NeSA will carry over to the ACT and then some. He says that, “The knowledge you gain from preparing for the NeSA will definitely help you as you take the ACT.”

There are some skills that the ACT asks for in terms of problem solving and in terms of analyzing different things that we are going to have to work on. One thing that the ACT has against it though, is that it costs money. To the benefit of us students, though, LHS pays for juniors to take it once with no cost to them. So, the switch to the ACT might be a good thing. Hopefully students will use this opportunity to take the ACT to propel themselves into a future that is bright.

Paulo Gross
Paulo Gross
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