MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 30, 2010

Students receive tips for excelling on ACT

By Kirk Kramer
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Aunt Edna, take heart: You and your fellow proponents of correct grammar have an advocate in Dr. Todd Graybill.

Graybill spent Tuesday afternoon spreading the gospel of proper English at the 7th & 8th Grade Center.

“Maybe you have a teacher or an aunt who encourages you to use good grammar,” said Graybill, a psychologist. “When you take the English (section of the ACT Test), think like that.”

Graybill spoke to 48 seventh-graders who have qualified for the Duke Talent Identification Program. Taking the ACT as seventh-graders is part of the program. Graybill’s remarks were aimed at helping the students test well.

“My slant is to help students become sharp, smart test-takers,” Graybill said. “I want to lower their test anxiety.”

College admission and scholarship awards are based in part on a student’s success on standardized tests like the ACT. Today students often take the test several times as high-school students.

Muskogee High School senior Carl Cordero also addressed the seventh-graders.

“I didn’t take the ACT when I was a seventh-grader because I thought it was so far away,” Carl said. “But knowing what’s on there, how it works, will help you when you take it later (in high school).”

Carl’s ACT score was 31. He calls the ACT “a test of your test-taking skills.” He gave the students tips for doing well.

“The most important thing is, the day before you take the test, get some sleep, guys. The test is at 8 a.m., and it lasts four hours.”

Graybill said the national average score for the ACT is 21. The highest possible score is 36.

The children in the Duke program are from the school district’s gifted and talented program.

“They are the top GT kids,” said Melony Carey, who coordinates the gifted and talented program district-wide. “They are kids who have met standardized testing criteria.”

Reach Kirk Kramer at 684-2901 or kkramer@muskogeephoenix.com.