It wasn’t that long ago students were pretty much on their own if they wanted to prepare for the ACT in DeSoto Parish. Teachers in the district had some basic ACT training materials, a few practice tests to use, but overall most deficiencies were addressed in the classroom during normal class time. It was a system that didn’t work according to Tammy Cole, Coordinator of Student Learning for the Desoto Parish School District.
Cole, who graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a BS in Secondary Mathematics, has spent 23 years in education teaching junior high and high school math.
She reflected,“We never really used any other programs until MasteryPrep. Teachers did their own thing in class, but we had nothing in place officially, and what we were doing wasn’t working as well as we wanted it to.”
For the last 11 years Mrs. Cole has been in the DeSoto Parish school district, and in that time the district’s scores have grown tremendously. Attributing that growth to teachers who “truly put the students and their needs as a top priority.” Cole believes their relentless pursuit of helping students is one of the main reasons they eventually came across MasteryPrep and their products.
The year that the DeSoto School District implemented the MasteryPrep programs, they hired ACT coaches to help put the curriculum in place. The results, according to Mrs. Cole, were even more growth. This past year (2015 school year) the DeSoto Parish School District led the state with the largest composite growth of +1.1 composite points. Some students have even experienced increased individual scores in different ACT test sections of 3-5 points. That is a powerful testimony of just how well the MasteryPrep products work. According to Mrs. Cole, teachers in the district teach the ACT curriculum while also having ACT coaches work with students. This gives the students added exposure to ACT test-taking techniques that help them do better than they would have without them.
When asked how the teachers have responded to the curriculum Mrs. Cole replied, “Our teachers love the MasteryPrep materials. They are so well done, and so well put together, that any teacher, from any subject, could use their materials and teach them to students. English teachers could teach on the ACT math test, and vice versa. MasteryPrep’s materials have made teaching students how to properly take and prepare for the ACT so much easier.”
Mrs. Cole also highlighted the ease of implementing the ACT curriculum with the schools in her district, as well as how well MasteryPrep staff helped set things up, work out minor glitches, and help the district grow their ACT program.
Overall Mrs. Cole and the DeSoto Parish School District have helped countless students accomplish academic goals they would have never been able to reach without help. Their willingness to try something new is helping students get higher ACT test scores, which in turn means students are being able to attend better colleges, qualify for scholarships that were previously unobtainable, and live a better life simply because an educator implemented a successful, new program.
The accomplishments of Mrs. Cole and the DeSoto Parish School district are more than commendable, but most of all it is the students who showed the greatest achievements. Without their determination to take what is given to them and work diligently to increase their scores none of these remarkable increases would be possible.