Guest Column

Test Prep Should be Part of Westfield High School’s Curriculum

Morgan Miovski, a rising senior at Westfield High School, suggests adding test prep to the school's curriculum. Credits: Jill D'Ambrosio
My father dropped me off at a testing center in a neighboring town on an April morning to take the ACT. After having taken five other standardized tests and having been privately tutored for the past year, I felt relatively prepared. To my surprise, when scores came back, I earned a perfect score on the science section.
It was a great feeling to know that my hard work payed off, and it was delightful to see a picture of me posted on the school website. At first, I did not pay much attention to my appearance online. However, it did not take me long for me to ask myself, “Why was the school posting on their website when they were not the ones who provided me with my test prep?”
My parents have paid up to $100 a session for private tutoring. It was during these sessions in which I was taught grammar, reading skills, tips, and tricks specific for the ACT; all of which helped me achieve my scores. So why was the school posting this picture on their school website?
With Westfield High School’s high rankings and high taxes in our town, test prep should be incorporated into the high school curriculum.
There are families in Westfield who are fortunate enough to pay for outside tutoring, and other families who cannot do this. Incorporating SAT/ACT prep in school would allow for equal opportunities for children regardless of their family’s financials to receive test prep.
I took economics, a half-year course, during the second half of my sophomore year. Students must take economics or financial literacy at one time at Westfield High School in order to fill this graduation requirement. I am anticipating on pursuing a science major in college, so the likelihood that I’ll need the knowledge taught in this economics class is very slim. And, even for those who are interested in pursuing a major in economics, the class topics would be re-taught in university anyway. If that course was replaced with a SAT/ACT prep course, it would have been very beneficial for everybody. It would not only have saved parents money from private tutoring and/or an outside-of-school course enrollment, but it would have given the school a legitimate reason to take credit for the perfect scores that they put on their website.
Penn High School, located in Mishawaka, Indiana, provides an SAT prep course during the year. If Penn High School can do it, why can’t Westfield High School?
If adding a mandatory SAT/ACT course is too drastic and not very pragmatic, perhaps incorporating SAT/ACT test concepts into English and Math classes for juniors would work well.
My private tutor had to teach me grammar rules specific to the ACT, some of these rules in which I was last tested on during my elementary years at McKinley. If the English curriculum included SAT/ACT specific grammar content that students can apply to not only their testing but also to their everyday speech and writing, it would be a very beneficial class activity. As for the math curriculum, teaching SAT/ACT math concepts, ACT science concepts, and test-taking tips in between units would also save parents’ money and improve students’ scores.

Adding test prep into the core curriculum at Westfield High School would not only help the students and their parents’ wallets, but it can help Westfield High School. Average SAT/ACT scores of the school are incorporated into school rankings; higher school rankings and higher scores will help students with getting into more competitive colleges.
Although I sound critical of my high school, I am very fortunate to be receiving a great public education. I greatly admire my teachers and I hope that my suggestions are heard. Giving the extraordinary teachers at Westfield High School the opportunity to teach kids how to approach the SAT/ACT tests would leave a lasting impact on students. 
Therefore, with all of the great benefits that come with incorporating test prep into our public education, students in the Westfield Public School system and their parents still scratch their heads. Why is this not apart of our curriculum?
Morgan Miovski will be a senior at Westfield High School this fall.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

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