Twenty-two Mississippi schools were chosen to participate in an ACT test pilot program. The program provided online classes for juniors preparing for the assessment test.
Jumpstart Test Prep is the company administering the program.
Recently, Jumpstart Test Prep published the results which showed 54.8 percent of the students who participated in the program showed an average composite score improvement of 1.8 points.
Given the results, the next step depends largely on funding in order to bring the program to more schools in Mississippi.
“We need more state funding. This study has shown the impact Jumpstart Test Prep has on graduating class’ ACT composite score averages. . . increases of between one and two points,” co-founder and CEO of Jumpstart Test Prep Sha Walker said. “If we were to move our state’s ACT graduating class’ composite average just one point, that lift us from around 48th to 38th in the nation. If we could move two points, we could improve around 20 slots and land us around 27th in the nation. Some of the schools in these study results historically perform much lower than the state average and their improvements are having an impact on not just the ACT, but graduation rate as well.”
Walker is more than confident that the Jumpstart ACT review will open the door to opportunity by helping our students perform their best, if given the chance.
“These pilot schools and nearly 100 others are hoping the state preparation program continues. We expect next year, school will return to some kind of normal and all juniors will again be provided a state funded ACT attempt in the early spring. For many in our state, this will be their only attempt,” Walker added. “All students, not just the privileged few, should have access to the professional tutoring (the content review, test taking tips and strategies and realistic practice) developed by one of Mississippi’s most decorated educators, 19-year STAR teacher, 2019 MSA teacher of the year, Dot McClendon.”
The full release is below.
Jumpstart Test Prep has announced the ACT improvement results from 19 of 22 schools, whose junior class used the Jumpstart reading and science ACT review programs to prepare for the state administered February 2020 ACT® exam (American College Testing). Following completion of Jumpstart’s ACT prep review in Reading and Science, 46 percent of the students had an average ACT Reading score improvement of +3.6 points over their best prior attempt. Similarly, 48 percent of the students improved their Science scores by an average of +3.3 points.
“I was excited for my scholars, staff, and school to learn that our application had been chosen for this pilot program,” said Torrey A. Hampton, principal of Forest Hill High School. “My team and I worked to create an implementation plan that worked well within our master schedule. After the first day of review, scholars had very positive comments about their experience. They liked the videos and strategies that were provided. This program gave our school community a chance to promote and build excitement for the ACT in our school even more.”
School officials from Desoto Central High School also shared their excitement from the results earned by their students.
“It is a joy to see the improvement our students made over their prior best scores,” said Monifa Oni Johnson, Ed.D., Asst. Principal of Desoto Central High School. “Thank you to our legislature, MDE and Jumpstart Test Prep, for the opportunity to participate in this pilot program.”
In addition, four of the reporting schools also implemented the Jumpstart ACT Math and English reviews and reported similar gains, with 49% improving an average of +2.1 points over prior best math scores and nearly 60% improving an average of 2.8 points over prior best English scores.
Dr. Pamela Self, principal of Canton High School said, “During my tenure as principal at CHS, I have faced many challenges, and one of the greatest was advancing the performance of my students on the ACT. This initiative worked and has helped increase our graduation rate. More are also scoring as college- and career-ready.”
Analysis of the pilot program results was conducted by third party expert Jake Hoskins, Ph.D.
“This pilot implementation of the Jumpstart Test Prep ACT review led to substantial improvements in ACT exam scores,” said Hoskins. “Half of the students with previous exam attempts experienced a Composite score increase, with an average composite point of gain of +2.12 among those students who did improve. Gains were shared across gender, ethnicity and school quality factors and implementation of the program reduced graduation required subject level course failure risks by 15% to 48%. Rigorous aggregate level t-tests, in which pre– to post- score changes are assessed, demonstrated that all four subject areas and the composite average saw statistically significant positive score changes at the critical p-value of .05. This threshold effectively gives us 95% confidence that the results observed in this sample would generalize to the population of interest (i.e., all High School Juniors),” concluded Hoskins.
The percentage of students improved by subject was calculated by including all students who had both a pre-test (before the use of the Jumpstart Test Prep program) and a post-test score (after using the test prep), from which potential improvements could be measured and attributed to the program. In the case of multiple prior attempts, the best prior scores were used for comparison. These results are presented next, in Figure 1. Appendix 1 provides the percentage of students improved by subject, by each school.
* West Harrison unable to post test due to COVID-19 school closure. ** South Pike and Vicksburg post data not yet submitted for analysis. *** West Tallahatchie adopted Science prep but failed to implement the vast majority of its content due to unexpected scheduling constraints.
Figure 2 (below) provides the average number of points improved observed among the group of students who did improve upon their best prior test score with the assistance of Jumpstart Test Prep. Appendix 2 provides the average score improvement by subject, isolated by each school.
Teachers at pilot schools proctored the streaming video-based review in their classrooms and reinforced the program by ensuring student understanding and providing additional practice questions before the exam.
“I enjoyed Jumpstart Test Prep very much. It was easy to navigate and the students were able to catch on quickly,” said Forrest Hill High School science teacher, Karen M. Johnson, Ed.D. “The pacing allowed us to stop and discuss information and it gave the students plenty of opportunities to practice the material before moving on to something new. It was engaging and I thought it really kept the students’ attention.”
Similar sentiments were shared by teachers from Canton High School.
“I truly enjoyed implementing Jumpstart into our ACT Prep Bootcamp for the juniors. The Jumpstart presenters gave a lot of helpful tips and taught test-taking strategies and broke down the math content,” added Canton High School Algebra I & II/SREB teacher, Kiara Doty. “The fill-in-the-blank workbooks and step-by-step instruction videos worked hand in hand as the students attentively watched the videos to complete the review sections of the workbook. I highly recommend the Jumpstart Test Prep review for the ACT.”
Placing the success these schools experienced into perspective was company Co-founder Sha Walker who shared some of those key elements.
“The schools involved in this pilot did a great job implementing the Jumpstart subject area reviews into the school’s master schedule so their juniors could complete this program within 2-4 weeks before test day as prescribed,” said Sha Walker, Co-Founder & CEO of Jumpstart Test Prep. “In order to be fully prepared, students need a complete review of the content they will see on the ACT®, along with all the tips, test-taking strategies and realistic question practice that we provide, all delivered in a near time frame to test day,” continued Walker. “We conducted several site visits at each school to help with planning and faculty development, and we led ‘ACT Pep Rallies’ to help motivate students to do their best.”
Jumpstart Test Prep has constructed an online review program based on over 40 years of work by Mississippi’s 19-year STAR teacher hall-of-fame inductee: the legendary educator and tutor Dot McClendon. Its consistent quality, prestige, and innovation is a culmination of her lifetime experience.
“As a teacher at The Mississippi School of the Arts and several other schools during my career, I was able to help guide the preparation of their students in person,” said McClendon. “Now through our on-demand video review, students in classrooms everywhere and even around the breakfast table or couch at home are able to benefit from our approach. This global pandemic has disrupted many areas of our lives, but none as evident in the academic environment,” continued McClendon. “Jumpstart can be included in any school distance learning plan.”
The company’s website, www.jumpstarttestprep.com, describes their program as a review utilizing streaming video modules that are delivered on-demand. The program is designed for classroom integration or individual study and proven to help students of all ability levels stay fully engaged and gain the most improvement in the shortest time by explaining difficult content in a way that every student can follow and understand. Students follow and complete the accompanying workbook as the review proceeds. Modules review the must-know content, include testing strategies specific to the exam, and conclude with realistic question practice modeled from actual “retired” exams that are provided under time constraint. According to student reviews of the program on the website, the program helps students with time management, allowing them to work faster on test day.
The company has found that when students are coached step-by-step, they can quickly secure significant gains, regardless of their initial proficiency in the subject area.
Walker and McClendon cite the top three competitive distinctions of Jumpstart Test Prep:
- Proven exam prep expertise honed over a lifetime of successful results. The content review is delivered on-demand. It is highly visual and animated. Students respond to the ACT®-style practice questions.
- The Jumpstart Test Prep review is engaging, not boring! Presented by a group of fun, young, diverse people, and presented in short 30-minute segments. Students must actively engage as they follow along in their workbook to build flashcards by completing the blanks and work ACT®-style practice problems as the online review progresses.
- Improved time management. Jumpstart Test Prep reviews content step-by-step, and then shows how to apply that content with follow-up examples. The examples are followed with challenge questions allowing a clock timer countdown. Time is critical on the ACT® and by the end of our review; Jumpstart Test Prep students know the average amount of time they can allocate per question and what to do when too much time has lapsed.
All juniors at the selected pilot schools had access to the following resources:
- Expert reading and science content review and practice, along with test taking tips and strategies delivered in the classroom via streaming video
- Individual access accounts available to students through May 2020
- Consumable student workbooks for both subject areas to be completed as lecture content was watched and later used as a student study guide
- On-demand support
School administrators utilized an online dashboard reflecting the video module completion progress of teachers assigned to proctor the review and/or individual student progress.
The company’s ACT® subject area prep can be purchased individually à la carte at www.jumpstarttestprep.com.
Release provided by Jumpstart Prep.