The Austin Independent School District is starting to offer free online SAT and ACT prep programs to all 21,000 high school students in the district.
Last year, more Austin public school students took the SAT and ACT, two national tests used in the college admissions process, and students continued to score higher on the ACT. The average overall SAT score for AISD students was 1507, higher than the national and statewide average.
Interim Superintendent Paul Cruz said the district wants to make sure even more students are prepared for the tests. Cruz said most schools usually offer weekend prep courses for students, but not all students in AISD can attend those classes.
“This is really a time where students on their own can have more access when they are ready and when they have opportunities to study the materials," Cruz said.
The district is partnering with the online program Edgenuity, which offers video instruction, interactive assignments, and practice tests to measure progress. The program will also offer test prep for the Texas Success Initiative test, which is required to apply to public universities in Texas.
Cruz also said many students can’t afford to take test prep classes. For example, an online course at Kaplan Test Prep starts at $299, with some classes costing more than $1,100.
“We don’t want that in any way to take away from student’s learning experience. We felt it was important to provide this opportunity to all students," Cruz said.
The online program will cost the district $50,000. Students can access the online program at school or at home.