On April 22 and 23, juniors at Proviso East High School and other schools in District 209 took the ACT and the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE).
On October 17, those students, now seniors, who made gains in their ACT score and met or exceeded state standards in reading and math won their incentive prizes at an assembly in the school’s auditorium. Prizes included a 32-inch flat-screen television, bicycles, prom tickets, and gift cards. Students were eligible for the prizes, which were paid for with proceeds from fundraisers or donations, based on their performance and their participation in preparation activities such as the ACT Cambridge Program.
Mr. Tony Valente, principal at Proviso East, told juniors and seniors that the school’s students had made marked gains on the state testing. Proviso East had a nearly 12 percent increase in its reading scores and a 2.3 percent increase in its science scores. The percentage of students who took the tests also jumped by 7.6 percent to 94 percent in 2012-13. He also mentioned that the graduation rate had increased by nearly 10 percent from the year before.
"Now your test scores are moving up like other high schools," Mr. Valente said.
Then one by one, seniors were called up to the stage to receive a gift card or a bigger prize. The big prize winners were the following: Martyina Graham and LaDarrian Pinkney, who each won two prom tickets for meeting reading standards; Moses Glasper, who won the television for making a three-point gain from the practice ACT he took in January to the final test that he took in April; Jessica Pride, who won a bicycle for making a four-point gain on her ACT; and Shekinah Bennett, Norma Chavez, and Marcela Lomeli, who each won two prom tickets for making a four-point gain on their ACT.
Ashanti Stanton, a Proviso East senior, increased her ACT score by three points to a 22. She said that she benefited from being a part of the Cambridge program.
"I was motivated even without the incentives," she said. "But it was a good way to raise the standards for the scores."
Watching the prizes being awarded were this year’s juniors, who will take the ACT/PSAE on April 23 and 24, 2014. Empress Harris, a junior, said that the prizes were part of a bigger picture in terms of doing well on the state testing.
"They said that every point counts on the ACT," Empress said. "If you’re improving yourself academically, you’ll have a broader scope in college. If you get the prizes, you can ask yourself, ‘What else can I do in college?’"
Mrs. Kisha Lang, assistant principal for educational services at Proviso East, encouraged the current juniors to give their best effort in preparing for the state tests.
"Juniors, get your scores up," she said. "It’s your career. It’s your life. This will give you the opportunity to have the future that you want to have."