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State may pick up ACT test tab

All high school students in Alabama could soon be one step closer to a college education.

According to recent reports, the state is considering footing the bill for all high school students to take the ACT college entrance test.

The ACT is used by most colleges in the South and Midwest as a component of the admission process.

Gloria Turner, Director of testing for the Alabama Department of Education, told the Mobile Press-Register that the state board of education will vote on the proposal in the coming months, and the changes would not take effect until at least 2011-12.

At least one local superintendent is in favor of the idea.

“I think it’s probably a positive thing,” said Pike County Schools Superintendent Mark Bazzell. “Any program to encourage kids to take the ACT and consider college is something we would consider positive, especially if the state is going to pick up the fee.”

The test costs $46 to take, something Bazzell said often keeps students from taking the test.

“I know there are a lot of kids who put off the test due to financial hardships,” Bazzell said.

“There are very few high school principals that I know of, including myself, who haven’t taken money out of their own pocket to help a student pay the fee for a test.”

However, the idea of adding the ACT test to the school calendar is something Bazzell would not like to see.

“If this were to happen, we would prefer that the ACT be administered on a Saturday on a national testing date, rather than adding another day of standardized testing to the school year,” Bazzell said. “We would just prefer not to add another testing day.”

Bazzell said adding another standardized test to an already packed test schedule would be stressful.

“It seems like we are constantly bombarded with lots and lots of standardized testing,” Bazzell said. “It seems like we spend the entire spring taking standardized tests.”

No matter when the test would take place, Bazzell said he would still like to see the proposal accepted so Pike County students could reap the benefits.

“There are a lot of kids who aren’t able to take that thing and most need to be able to take it more than once,” Bazzell said.

“It would definitely be beneficial and we would be supportive of it.”