Author Archives: Mike Bergin

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people. ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

We all know that everyone learns in different ways. Some of us prefer to work independently, while others need to be led along. Solo vs. group, synchronous vs. asynchronous, visual vs. auditory… everyone absorbs information most efficiently through specific channels. One of the great challenges for any of us is discovering those paths and then using them.

Success, both in tests and life, comes one small step at a time. Unfortunately, these increments of achievement can sometimes seem smaller than they really are, which leads us to overlook their impact. Evaluating ACT scores reminds us of how deceiving certain scores can be. Today, the ACT is taken by more students than the SAT. Yet, amazingly, people still don’t quite understand how to interpret ACT scores. The problem lies in that weird constricted range: SAT section scores span a full 600 points from 200-800 while ACT section and composite scores cover 36 meager scaled score points. Consequently, test takers can see hundreds of points of improvement from one SAT to another (with the right preparation, naturally), but ACT test takers must content themselves with 2 or 3-point score increases. Which one sounds more impressive? The SAT/ACT Bell Curve But the ACT scale deceives us, diminishing the accomplishment an…

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Even if you live in Western New York, you may not have noticed that Rochester residents ROCK Earth Day. This spring, Delta Laboratories organized a massive Greater Rochester Earth Day CleanUP that blended trash collection with data collection to teach students about water quality and pollution. Sounds fun, but was this event successful? Does a 61% increase in trash collection over last year sound good enough? According to the final tally, 2,658 volunteers across the area collected over 2,389 bags of trash and large debris from our environment. Way to go! Kudos to everyone who contributed and participated in this outstanding environmental event. This is the first year that Chariot Learning sponsored the Greater Rochester Earth Day CleanUP, but it definitely won’t be the last!

What a time of flux in the world of multiple choice math, reading, and grammar! Just months after the College Board announced drastic revisions to the world’s oldest college admissions mega-test, their surging competitor in Iowa City let’s us know that we’ll be seeing some new numbers on the ACT score report ACT, Inc. has long pegged scores in each section of the test to College Readiness Benchmarks, basically indicators of various levels of success in related entry-level college courses. Starting some unspecified time in 2015, the organization will provide additional readiness indicators to describe student performance and predicted readiness levels in various categories: STEM Score (overall performance on the science and math portions of the exam) English Language Arts Score (overall performance on the English, reading and writing portions of the exam) Progress Toward Career Readiness Indicator (a measure of progress toward career readiness) Text Complexity Progress Indicator (a…

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Have you ever experienced one or more of these symptoms? No spontaneous thought An intensified, fixed, internalized awareness An expansion of especially clear awareness into ambient space The disappearance of the bodily self A distinctive closing off of all sight and sound A deep, blissful serenity A marked slowing or cessation of respiration Don’t worry: you weren’t abducted by aliens (I hope).  Instead, you attained that elusive and magical state of flow that only comes from total absorption. Some associate this state with the deep internal absorption that comes from skilled meditation. Others refer to it as the Coder’s High. But you don’t need to live in Tibet or work in Silicon Valley to find this bliss. The flow state finds us when we are fully absorbed in accomplishing a complex and worthy task. Great works of art may be immersive but not truly absorbing unless we’re creating them. The flow state is…

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