Back in February Katy took the ACT college-readiness exam as part of the Duke TIP (Talent Identification Program) through Duke University. Seventh graders who live in the “Duke service area” (16 states) have qualifying scores on standarized tests can take the SAT or ACT through Duke and based on those scores can participate in various educational programs. Students who score as well or better than the national average receive state recognition and students who score as well or better than 90% of students nationwide taking the same tests receive national recognition. So we were very excited when Katy’s scores came in and we saw she scored high enough to receive state recognition on two of the five sections of the ACT. She probably would have done better had she not concentrated so much on filling in the little bubbles perfectly that she ran out of time. But even so, some of her scores were better than some of her friends who finished the test!
The states that have a large number of participants have ceremonies to honor the students. Georgia has five ceremonies, none of which are in the Atlanta are where most of the population is. You are assigned to a ceremony (otherwise everyone would sign up for the same one) and we were assigned this afternoon at West Georgia University in Carrollton, which is about halfway between our house and Alabama.
I hemmed and hawed about going as it would mean missing a day of school and the kids really are pretty busy with two big projects and getting on track after basically taking three weeks off for state testing. But one of Katy’s good friends was going and Katy decided she wanted to. So I RSVP’d two days before the deadline. Thankfully you could do it online.
We had no problem getting to Carrollton but once we got there we messed up the last two miles and got lost. We pulled into a parking lot to program the GPS and I jumped out of the car to ask a lady loading up the back of an SUV how to get there. Turns out she was from out of town, too. She said she drove by the school but wasn’t sure how she got there.
We finally found the campus and it looks like a nice little school. We signed in and then waited an hour and a half for the ceremony to start while Katy hunted down her friends. There were 48 students from her school who qualified for recognition and that we could tell there were 11 there. I don’t know if any of the others were invited to other ceremonies or just didn’t go. Once Heath saw how many Autrey Mill families were there he said we should have rented a bus!
The director of the school’s Advanced Academy gave the welcome and then there were two speakers. The first speaker was a president emeritus and professor of business. I thought he was pretty good. He told the students their reward for achievement was having to listen to people talk. Katy said she only paid attention to about half of it, if that. The other speaker was a recent graduate (or will be, I guess he graduates this month) of the school’s Advanced Academy. It’s a dual-enrollment program where you live on campus and get credit for your last two years of high school and your first two years of college. He had been through the Duke program as well, beginning in elementary school, and is now headed to Georgia Tech.
Following the speeches a representative from DukeTIP presented the medals. Heath said he noticed some really young kids there. Duke has a program where fourth-sixth graders take a test that ACT designed for eighth graders called the Explore test and they were getting medals. There were only about eight students, including one boy who had this “my mom dragged me here and I’m mad” look on his face. It sounded like only about two percent of students who take that test qualify for recogntion. I had looked into that when Katy was the age to take but decided against it. For one thing there wasn’t a testing site anywhere near us!
The. they honored the seventh graders. The Duke representative said that for this year, nationally 40% of students — 22,236 — who tested scored high enough for recognition. In Georgia, there were 6,298 students who tested and 2,278 who scored enough for recognition. They also honored the students receiving national recognition and those students had a choice of receiving that medal today or waiting until the big ceremony at Duke University in two weeks.