GREENFIELD — Regardless of their post-graduation plans, all Greenfield-Central High School seniors will be required to take a placement test this fall and apply to at least one college.
The approach is expected to boost student confidence for those who might not have considered college or known the first step to applying, said G-C principal Steve Bryant, who adopted the idea from New Castle High School.
Seeing an acceptance letter with their name on it might be the tipping point for a student who was on the fence about furthering their education, Bryant said.
“I think it’s a confidence boost because, I think, a lot of kids don’t believe in themselves,” he said.
This year, any senior who has not taken the SAT by Oct. 31 will be required to take the ACCUPLACER, a computer-based placement test that serves as a substitute for the SAT at a variety of technical schools and other higher education institutions.
The results of the ACCUPLACER, which are delivered instantly to the student after the test, can be used to see what a sample curriculum going forward would look like, based on the student’s readiness for core classes.
Officials from Ivy Tech Community College will administer the hour-long test, then direct students to Ivy Tech’s online application.
The high school isn’t promoting Ivy Tech in particular, Bryant said, simply showing one option for students who might otherwise have been headed to the job force with no additional skills beyond those learned in high school.
“Just the workforce data shows us that 65 percent of all jobs require some sort of post-secondary training, whether it be technical or an associate’s degree,” he said. “If they will apply, get accepted, then, I think that opens another door to discuss financial aid.”
Ivy Tech was a logical partner for the program because it has a rolling application process, does not charge an application fee and already offers evening classes at the high school.
G-C Director of Guidance Kim Kile said giving the test early in the year provides a chance for the school to intervene before graduation on behalf of students with no future plans.
“I was amazed at the number of kids who got to the end of their high school career and were stuck, didn’t see themselves anywhere outside of this building and could not grasp the concept that they needed to be prepared for something other than a school day,” Kile said. “We wanted to create that vision for them earlier enough that they could react and respond.”
Assistant principal Dan Jack said he believes in some cases the experience could break the generational cycle for students whose parents did not attend college.
“I think some just have low expectations for themselves,” he said. “Maybe just seeing some results from a test like this may surprise them to the point that they realize maybe college is in the cards for them.”
Kile said she doesn’t expect every student accepted by Ivy Tech to enroll in a long-term program. The college offers certifications as well.
The school is working to schedule the ACCUPLACER, as well as a separate test for students interested in going to the military, on the same day sophomores and select freshman are taking the PSAT. Seniors who have already taken the SAT will be encouraged to make a college visit that day.
Kile hopes that providing the test in October will kick start the application process for those who have left college decisions to the last minute.
“By the time these kids that are on the fence – the bubble students – begin thinking about this, it’s a little too late,” she said. “It’s really about the options and opportunities that are available and pushing the timeline up for some families so they … have things in place for the next year.”