Tag Archives: ACT

A sophisticated college-level vocabulary is so last century, at least as far as the SAT, ACT, and possibly colleges themselves are concerned. The priority for today’s academics and knowledge workers is graphical literacy. ACT was actually ahead of the curve on this one with the data-rich Science Test, but College Board only got the memo in the last decade. The 2015 revision of the SAT Reading section jettisoned the last of the discrete vocabulary questions in part to make room for a new and unfamiliar–at least to the SAT–addition: passage-based graphs. The Reading section of the current SAT presents 52 questions across 5 passages covering a wide range of topics. Test takers can expect 3 of those passages to present natural and social science topics, and these passages can include a total of 3-4 graphs. Usually each passage will hold 2 graphs but sometimes a single one appears. The most…

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  When the 4th day of July rolls around, we citizens of the United States sometimes ponder questions deeper than just where to watch the best fireworks. We think of patriotism and pride, and even the most cynical among us contemplates what really makes America great. If thoughts like these have been rolling around in your head lately, here’s something to consider about American excellence… According to a 2014 tally, over 300,000 students outside the United States took the SAT in more than 1,000 international test centers across 175 countries. In Hong Kong alone, one 2013 SAT administration was inundated by 10,000 test takers. The ACT commands similar–and, in some countries greater–numbers of international test takers, and both tests have seen more test takers last year than ever. Why should students across the world take the SAT & ACT, when only colleges and universities within the U.S. use these scores…

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In most of the United States, the ACT is administered seven times. In New York, however, the ACT is only administered six times. Historically, this has meant that no test centers have been scheduled in New York for the July national test date, July of 2020 proved an exception to that otherwise ironclad rule, but, then again, a summer test date when most schools were still shut down by the pandemic was hardly the biggest surprise of the year. Why does the Empire State stand alone without a July ACT? Blame the Truth-in-Testing Law: The “truth in testing” law, known formally as the Admissions Testing Law, was adopted by the State Legislature in 1979 after lobbying by consumer, civil-rights and other groups. The law, which took effect in January 1980, requires sponsors and manufacturers of college admissions examinations to offer test takers the right, at the time scores are reported,…

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Why do people lie so much? Why do we persistently spout demonstrably false statements simply to provide others who cling to the same skewed biases purchase to elevate rumors and wishes to the level of accepted fact, even when all evidence belies our flawed reasoning? No, I’m not talking about politics here. Instead, let’s turn those jaundiced eyes to college admissions policies. The global pandemic may not have inspired the crusade against standardized test scores in college admissions, but it certainly energized the opposition. The expansion of test optional admissions, while the farthest thing possible from a panacea for structural educational inequity, empowers more students to apply to selective schools they might have otherwise given up on. Unfortunately, such policies don’t materially improve an applicant’s chance at admission to those schools. The writing on the wall for the coalescing college graduating class of 2025 suggests that higher education still places…

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Of all the test administrations of the year, the ones in June present the most problems. Many high schools have already flipped the CLOSED sign while others are facing finals and other culminating tests. Even worse, students have to contend with a host of other distractions: Playoffs and championships for spring sports Prom Exhaustion That summer feeling wafting through the classroom windows… Clearly, the odds of a student earning his or her best SAT or ACT scores in June appear unfavorable to say the least. No wonder we strongly recommend that high schoolers take the tests as early in junior year as makes sense based on preparation and extracurricular commitments. Yet, a case for the June SAT & ACT can and should be made. Three different groups of students benefit from blocking out the first two weekends of the month for testing: 1. Juniors who have already prepped but haven’t…

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While most standardized tests break section scores into smaller subscores, ACT aligns its flagship college entrance exam along Reporting Categories that serve the same general function of sorting content into discrete categories. College admissions officers show no interest whatsoever in student achievement in specific ACT Reporting Categories, but that doesn’t mean these categories have no value. On the contrary, the blueprint by which the test is designed tells us a great deal about the knowledge, skills, and strategies each section of the ACT rewards. For example, delving into the ACT Science Reporting Categories reveals a shocking truth about the test: its primary purpose is not to evaluate science knowledge. Instead, certain core skills are valued much more than discrete facts and figures. The three ACT Science Reporting Categories each focus on a specific competency area in the understanding and practice of scientific inquiry: Interpretation of Data The ACT Science Test…

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