Chariot Learning Blog

It might be hard to understand why the SAT and ACT test students on reading skills. Math is practical for lots of careers, and it’s important to know proper grammar and syntax, but why do standardized tests bother with having you read passages and answer questions about them? As it turns out, strong reading skills matter more than a lot of people realize. A 2020 study by Gallup found that a shocking 54% of adults in the United States can’t read at a sixth-grade level. Over half of American adults would probably have trouble reading A Wrinkle in Time or the Percy Jackson series. If you’re a high school junior or senior who’s had to read hundreds of pages of challenging literature, that might seem incredible, but as someone who was a bookworm from a young age, it’s easy to take for granted how hard reading can be for some…

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Is Sal Khan the most respected individual in education today or just one of the most respected individuals in education? The founder of Khan Academy, the gold standard in academic training videos, has done more to “provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere” than, well, anyone, anywhere. While Sal’s been busy launching yet another free academic resource, he recently shared his thoughts on testing, test-optional admissions, and equity in an insightful interview with THE Journal. Here are some of his more salient points along with some editorial commentary: THE Journal: Is the SAT still relevant, now that many colleges and universities have made test scores optional for admission? SK: When I talk to admissions officers, behind closed doors, they will tell you that making tests optional did not remove the need for them to get a signal of college readiness from applicants. The reality is that savvy students continue…

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If you’ve been a student or educator within the last ten years, you might have taught or learned in a “flipped” classroom, where students study the basics of the material at home and spend their class time in collaborative groups, and teachers serve more as moderators than lecturers. There’s a lot to like about this model, but there’s no denying that it takes a lot of work to pull off. To successfully “flip” a classroom, a teacher usually has to arrange study materials for students to work on at home, like recorded lectures and PowerPoint presentations, and then design lesson plans that encourage critical thinking and teamwork and can be carried out in an hour. It makes sense that teachers want to know before trying it: does any of it actually make a difference? The short answer is, yes. It’s difficult to objectively assess teaching methods, and there isn’t much…

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We’ve all heard the expression, “Practice makes perfect.” In fact, most of us are guilty of repeating that old bromide, typically to encourage some extremely imperfect activity. Nonetheless, this hoary oyster holds within a pearl of pure truth. Neuroscience tells us that practice makes perfect because of myelination. Our incredible brains never stop changing, which can be a bad thing depending on how we invest or squander our time. As they say, you are what you do, thanks to myelination. Everything we think, say, or do involves the firing of long chains of neurons in our brains. Myelin is an insulating tissue that forms a layer or sheath around the axon of a neuron. Apparently, myelin develops along neural pathways that fire over and over, and its function is to increase the speed of neural impulses along these pathways. In essence, the more we perform a certain task, the faster…

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Effective test preparation delivers so many benefits beyond the obvious improvement in test scores. This post is authored and published by the National Test Prep Association and shared here with permission.

Often, we focus so much on high stakes tests that we fail to recognize them merely as intermediate steps to a larger goal. The SAT and ACT, for example, matter quite a lot, but mainly only for students striving for their choice of four-year college. And while we sometimes miss the big picture, the test makers always keep that test-to-college connection firmly in view. This, in a nutshell, explains why ACT, Inc. provides ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. The College Readiness Benchmarks are the minimum scores in each section of the ACT associated with a 50% chance of earning a B or better and approximately a 75% chance of earning a C or better in the corresponding college course or courses. ACT English is associated with introductory English Composition classes. The ACT Benchmark for English is a scale score of 18, which is approximately 39th percentile. ACT Math is associated with…

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