Friday, September 22, 2006

More On Testing in Michigan

(My apologies to regular readers for concentrating on Michigan, but these issues are important for homeschoolers in our state to understand. )

In my post on state testing in Michigan, reader Meredith asked if a homeschooler can take the ACT separate from the Michigan Merit Exam (MME).
Are you sure that kids still won't be able to take the ACT separately? I didn't see that called out in any of your links, and I would be surprised to see ACT being willing to give up the extra revenue coming from kids wanting to re-take the exam to get better scores on the traditional sections.
I called the ACT national office this morning and the answer to that is yes. You can go directly to the website and register with the ACT online. You would then only be taking the ACT portion of the exam and NOT the Work Keys component, bypassing the job profiling and any other assessment required of public school students.

The key to doing this is in the DATE you take the exam and going through the ACT directly NOT the state.

The article put out by told homeschoolers they can obtain ACT test scores used for college admission by taking the exam on March 13-16, 2007. But that's not the only way to get test scores. If you want to avoid the Work Keys job profiling and assessments, ignore that date. The ACT student website gives many dates and suggests taking the exam on April 14, 2007. According to an ACT representative, the test given on that date would not include the Work Keys portion of the exam. It is the basic ACT and NOT the Michigan Merit Exam.

You would then have the test scores necessary for college admission. Keep in mind, that Michigan requires the Michigan Merit Exam (formerly MEAP) for all high school graduates, but homeschoolers are NOT under that requirement. It will be up to individual state colleges and universities to decide if they will continue to accept only the ACT and not the MME. At this point in time, they do. That could change. It may also affect dual enrollment which many homeschoolers are taking advantage of. You will be required to pay for the test yourself ($29) instead of the state picking up the tab. You will also forfeit the merit award ($2500). The monetary award is actually what is tempting many homeschoolers into taking the MME. That's unfortunate. I know college is expensive, but I believe the value of our autonomy as homeschoolers is worth more than $2500.

The state of Michigan would love nothing more than to change the law and require homeschoolers to take the state exam. They've tried and failed. However, when homeschoolers willingly volunteer to take the state exam, it makes it more difficult to fight against requiring it for all homeschoolers in our state.

It is also unclear how long ACT will continue to offer the test without Work Keys to high schoolers. ACT controls that portion of the test as well. So this could get more confusing as time goes on, especially if the state of Michigan puts pressure on them to include that portion. This would most likely happen if public school parents catch on to the job profiling aspects and opt out of the MME and only take the ACT. (I can dream can't I?) But for now that's where it stands.

Please let homeschoolers across the state know about this option. Being aware and informed about our options is the best way to keep homeschool free from instrusive state regulations. And if you live in another state, find out if your state is moving toward the ACT as their state exam. Call your representatives and find out what is being discussed in the education committee. That's where it all begins.

(Thanks Meredith, your question was a good one.)

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