Austin ISD offers free test prep to high school students

Fifth-largest school district in Texas partners with Edgenuity to support students preparing for SAT, ACT and TSI assessments

test-prepAustin ISD (AISD) is partnering with Edgenuity, an online education provider, to expand support for all high school students by offering free test preparation services for college entrance exams, including the SAT.

AISD students may enroll in the web-based courses, which will allow them to complete lessons at their own pace.

AISD is the fifth-largest school district in Texas, serving about 85,000 students at 129 campuses, including 17 high schools. This semester, the district serves about 21,000 high school students throughout Austin.

This year, AISD’s graduation rates have reached an all-time high. More AISD students are participating in the SAT and ACT—and they are scoring better overall on the exams, compared with the state and national averages.

“Preparing Austin students to graduate ready for college is among our top priorities at AISD. Working with our school communities, we are meeting our goals by helping to meet students where they are, but there is more work to be done,” said Paul Cruz, interim superintendent. “We must continue to invest in our students’ success by ensuring all students have access to the tools they need. The new Web-based services offer students the flexibility to prepare for college entrance exams when and where it works best for them.”

Next page: Edgenuity’s test prep strategies

Edgenuity’s online courses aim to help prepare students to successfully complete the SAT, ACT and Texas Success Initiative tests. The collaboration is part of AISD’s commitment to support greater academic achievement by ensuring all students have access to the latest in innovative tools and courseware.

“Most of today’s students are digitally savvy and are looking for educational opportunities that are personalized, engaging and rigorous,” Cruz said. “This partnership with Edgenuity will help AISD continue to meet the unique learning needs of all our students, including at-risk and first-generation college students. The online courses will help students prepare for and excel on standardized exams at the state and national level.”

Edgenuity’s on-screen teachers help demystify the SAT, ACT and TSI exams and their content and offer test-taking strategies. Courses include video-based instruction, interactive assignments and frequent assessment opportunities to track progress.

The ACT and SAT courseware focuses on the primary areas of each test, including mathematics, reading, science and English reasoning for the ACT, and mathematics, critical reading and critical writing for the SAT.

TSI preparation is particularly important for students who wish to attend public universities in Texas, which use the test to gauge if students are college-ready in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics.

AISD students continue to earn higher overall scores on the SAT and ACT exams, compared with their counterparts across the state and nation, according to the College Board and ACT Inc.:

• This year, the average overall SAT scores for AISD students was 1507, compared with 1497 nationally and 1432 statewide.
• The average ACT composite score for AISD students in 2014 was 21.9, exceeding the state (20.9) and national (21.0) average composite scores.
• More AISD students participated in the SAT than the ACT exam—2,801 tests compared with 1,499. However, AISD students’ participation in ACT testing continued to increase in 2014 compared with participation in prior years.

“By implementing Edgenuity, AISD can better prepare its students for their college and career,” Sari Factor, CEO of Edgenuity, said. “Our online, research-based curriculum and practice tests personalize the learning experience for each student, diagnosing and targeting areas of opportunity, and prescribing individual study paths that truly meet each student’s learning needs.”

AISD high schools will promote the free online test preparation to students, families and campus communities. For more information, AISD students may schedule an appointment with their campus counselor.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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