"Tonight the student and I started by discussing what all is involved in the essay portion of the ACT's. He was worried about this part because he feels he is not a good writer. I told him that they are not looking for a perfect piece of writing, but whether you can pick one side of the topic and support your opinion. I also told him that spelling and grammar were not a big deal with the essay. He said that he is not a planner when it comes to writing, so I told him that is fine, but I want you to write down a few words to help you get your ideas out and stay on topic. He took the first few minutes to plan out what he wanted to write about. He then began to write his essay. What I liked seeing was that he took his time to write the essay and did not rush. He seemed to have his thoughts and ideas on the tip of his tongue. He crossed out words and phrases that did not work or did not make sense and kept on writing. I did tell him not to erase anything but to cross out. I also told him to use as much detail as possible for each example that he gives. He seemed to really be focused and able to get his ideas out. After reading his essay, I gave him scores of 5 and 4 with an overall score of 9/12. He used wonderful detailed examples about why a student should not be required to hold a "C" average in order to get his or her driver's license. His introduction and conclusion were right on topic. He did, however, use a lot of contractions, and we will work on using different types of words throughout his essay. He did overuse commas, which we will also work on next time. He said that he felt nervous at first because he didn't know what examples to write, but as he started writing, the ideas just came to him. He understands to use the first few minutes to write some ideas to make the writing process easier.
Next, I had the student complete one reading passage from practice test 1. He decided to read the science passage of practice test 1 about dinosaurs. I told him that I would not be timing him and that I wanted him to take his time and read the passage and then try to answer every question. I also told him to underline or put marks next to anything he thought may be important in the reading. The student scored a 7/10 on his first passage."