Chariot Learning Blog

The biggest stories in college admissions right now have to do with record numbers of applications to highly selective schools being waitlisted, deferred, and outright turned away in record numbers. As ever, the ranks of the unadmitted include plenty of students who would not only survive but thrive in competitive academic environments. But many of these students–particularly those who likely wouldn’t have applied before being emboldened by test optional policies–may have spared a great deal of emotional and financial pain. After all, there is a big difference between being ready for colleges and *really* being ready for college. What is the essential distinction here? Imagine that you, like me, have a teenager of driving age. My son has been ready to drive for years. As far as he’s concerned, he was born ready. To him, the assorted steps required to earn first a learner’s permit and then that coveted full…

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The last several years may have heaped one indignity or tragedy after another on our reeling world, but the 21st century to date is marked by major innovations as well. Not only do we enjoy 3-D printing, blockchain, and online streaming, but finally threw off the tyranny of reporting all test scores to colleges in favor of more sane score reporting policies. Many schools will accept a student’s single best SAT or ACT score rather than looking at every test score. Even better, more and more schools will superscore tests, taking the single best score of each SAT or ACT section to create a better composite than a student earned naturally… and honor that score without bias. Not every college accepts superscores. Additionally, more schools currently accept SAT superscores than ACT superscores, primarily because ACT used to strongly oppose superscoring. However, in 2019, ACT released the results of several studies…

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The future of standardized testing will undoubtedly be digital. Less certain is when a computer- or device-based format will be distributed evenly across all assessments. Right now, many of the most popular graduate entrance exams such as the GMAT, GRE, or, most recently, LSAT have migrated to digital platforms. Certain high school entrance exams also appear in a computer-based format. But the biggest tests of all–the SAT and ACT–haven’t made the jump yet, at least not everywhere. Our March 2021 Tests and the Rest Online Summit focused on both the present state of Computer-Based Testing (CBT) and what the future might hold. What questions should we be asking (and demanding wise, equitable answers) about the inevitable digital SAT and ACT? WHEN? ACT not only anticipated widespread digital testing starting in September 2020, but predicted the exciting option of individual section retesting. College Board teased an at-home SAT option a month…

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If you live in New York, you can be forgiven for missing the beginning of spring, which currently feels a lot like winter. But spring has sprung nonetheless, promising a veritable bouquet of high stakes tests, from APS and Finals to the SAT & ACT. Juniors who put the work in now still have a chance to ace all these exams before summer even starts. Will you be test ready? Local students certainly made the most of Winter 2020 testing opportunities despite the global pandemic. Chariot Learning proctored free full-length proctored practice tests across greater Rochester just about every single week. How busy were we during the coldest months? How many students came to our remote proctored practice SATs and ACTs? Would you believe 129 different students from 29 different schools, including many from outside Upstate New York? Outstanding! We’re especially proud of the students who sat for three or…

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Few things take the wind out of a student’s sails faster than seeing someone they consider beneath them–in a strictly academic sense, of course–score much higher on an important test. The pain increases exponentially when high stakes tests are involved. I’ve seen the bad sides of plenty of good high schoolers when their classmates’ test scores come up. Yet, this uncharitable mix of jealousy and self-loathing usually misses a fundamental point about effort and achievement that Ava at Bookbear Express explains clearly: Here’s what I know: if someone’s much better than you at something, they probably try much harder. You probably underestimate how much harder they try. I’m not saying that talent isn’t a meaningful differentiator, because it certainly is, but I think people generally underestimate how effort needs to be poured into talent in order to develop it. So much of getting good at anything is just pure labor:…

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The research is clear: many students learn better in groups. Students who learn in small groups generally demonstrate greater academic achievement, express more favorable attitudes toward learning, and persist through challenging courses or programs to a greater extent than their more traditionally taught counterparts. Why is this such a surprise? According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, nearly 70 percent of us are considered Extraverted, which means we are energized by interaction with others. Yet, learning is typically structured as a quiet, individual activity. That paradigm serves some students, but so many others need a social component to learn best. Cooperative learning, in which students work with peers in small learning groups to master academic material, consistently produces increased student achievement. According to researcher Robert Slavin, study groups are most effective when students are evaluated both on group goals and individual accountability. Group goals serve to motivate students to help each…

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