DIXFIELD – An action plan to try to raise high school student scores to meet the directives of the federal No Child Left Behind educational philosophy will include additional teaching toward the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

Charles Maddaus, an English teacher at Dirigo High School, told the SAD 21 board Monday night that the greatest need right now is in reading.

“In 2006, we were monitored for students who were economically disadvantaged. In 2007, it’s the whole school,” he said.

Students will continue to receive SAT preparation in their English classes, as well as during a half-period each week at the high school’s learning center, coordinated by Norm Greenberg.

“Those who partially meet the standards will take additional prep and we’re considering adding those who did not meet the standards. The students will receive 12 weeks of additional SAT prep,” said Greenberg.

Also, several junior class meetings will be held throughout the year to help students learn test-taking strategies for the SAT, such as when to guess at an answer and when not to.

Maddaus said the strategy team is trying to make the SAT exam more friendly,

“It’s really a tough situation,” he said.

Unlike years past, when college bound students were usually the only ones to take the SATs, now all juniors must take the test.

Maddaus said at least 50 percent of juniors and at least 28 percent of economically disadvantaged students must meet the so-called adequate yearly progress, a part of the No Child Left Behind philosophy.

Greenberg said a long-term strategy is to begin testing ninth-graders where he said an assessment gap exists.

Also, he encouraged the district to advocate for literacy next year, similar to the district’s focus on teaching against bullying this year.

The needs of Region 9 School of Applied Technology students must also be met. To try to do so, late arrival Wednesdays will include meetings of teachers from both the high school and the vocational school to try to work out a way to provide SAT preparation for the vocational school students.

SAD 21 board member Bruce Ross, a representative from Dixfield, asked whether there was any way to track student progress in their classes. He wants to know the correlation between standardized testing and actual classwork.

“How many passed, how many failed, did great? This test is not telling me how they are doing in school. I want a comparison,” he said.

Shirley Austin, a high school English teacher, told board members that Maine Educational Assessment testing was working well for the school.

“Then we went to the SATs. That’s a big change. The College Board never meant for SATs to be a general assessment,” she said.

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