As the educational community anticipates the release of ACT Aspire, ACT’s latest assessment in their suite of tests, the Belin-Blank Center has been fielding questions from parents and educators about the impact of the new test on the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS).
Here’s the short answer: for the immediate (2014-2015 academic year) nothing will change!
Students in grades 7-9 will continue to register for the ACT Test, which is administered as part of ACT’s national testing program. Students who register through the Belin-Blank Center will have access to our comprehensive Interpretation Guide, which provides detailed information about above-level test results and how these results correspond to academic programming.
Students in grades 4-6 will continue to register for ACT Explore. Explore will be administered as part of the national elementary student testing services and is an option only for ACT-recognized talent search organizations. In other words, Traditional testing on the national testing dates will continue. Furthermore, In-School Testing through the Belin-Blank Center will continue to be available for the next academic year.
The Belin-Blank Center is in the process of investigating opportunities for testing beyond 2015, including the use of Aspire for 4th – 6th graders (and possibly even younger). We’ve been discovering academically talented students through the talent search model for nearly 25 years. We will continue to provide valuable information and opportunities for high-ability students, their schools, and their families, and the talent search will remain a vital service of the Belin-Blank Center.