Tag Archives: ACT

  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 you sometimes–or often–what’s so special about this particular country, 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. While a string of practical incidents and ideological arguments have impacted the availability of testing overseas (and access to more current data regarding those…

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Do you know that feeling when something you’ve anticipated or even dreaded for a long time finally occurs? Now that the new SAT looms just a few days away, many teens are experiencing that exhilarating mix of expectation and anxiety. But smart students prepare for tests, and we’ve had the privilege of seeing some really bright and motivated high schoolers integrate information about the new test into their existing understanding of the ACT and former SAT. In fact, I fully expect some of our students, for better or worse, to know more than the test proctors. Standardized tests offer valuable data to admissions and licensing authorities because of the rigid consistency with which each exam is meticulously designed and administered. Yet for all the psychometric precision applied to test development, much less standardization occurs at the point where many important tests meet the testing public. For example, most SAT and…

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Most teens planning to take the SAT or ACT schedule their test dates either after they’ve finished Algebra 2 or at least much of the way through the course. Do our preeminent college entrance exams really require advanced math knowledge for good or even great scores? In a word, no. My friends and colleagues at the National Test Prep Association analyzed all of the official SATs and ACTs released over the last three years to answer an ingenious question: What Would a Smart 9th Grader Get on SAT and ACT Math? What would an A+ student who has just finished Algebra I and Geometry score on the SAT and ACT if she got everything right that she had seen in school and got everything else wrong? According to my analysis, she would score a 29 on ACT Math (80% of the tested material) and a 700 on SAT Math (87%).…

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Teens may not like the idea of taking the SAT, but at least they have plenty of options in terms of when they actually have to drag themselves to a testing center. The College Board administers the SAT from the beginning of the school year until its end, typically in October, November, December, March, May, and June. We’ve even had an August test since 2017. The conventional wisdom suggests that students sit for the SAT (and ACT) in the spring of junior year and, if needed, the fall of senior year. High schoolers who follow this dubious advice flock to the May and June dates in the spring, then inevitably test again in October and November. December has typically been the test date for very late seniors and very early juniors. After watching students struggle through the college admissions process for over twenty years, I’ve seen how the traditional testing…

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A full academic year lasts a long time, unless you are a student, teacher, or faculty member, in which case it lasts a REALLY long time. From the end of one summer to the beginning of the next, high schoolers navigate an obstacle course of exams, projects, papers, and extracurricular commitments, punctuated by the occasional day or week off. Success on big tests like the ACT depends in part on scheduling preparation and testing during the less frenetic months in a student’s schedule. That’s what makes the February ACT so attractive. What really goes on in January? In my part of the country, students take midterms in January, but those tests don’t trigger anywhere near the stress of finals, APs, or state tests in the spring. Certain sports obviously run through the winter months. However, an ironic advantage of winter sports is that practices are rarely rescheduled for inclement weather…

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The American public has been anxiously unpacking the implications of the announcement by ACT that that average ACT scores for the high school class of 2022 declined to lowest level in more than 30 years. I recently shared deeper analysis and context for the announcement on this site, but those who enjoyed video to text will enjoy the brief segment on the topic I contributed to on WROC News 8. What conclusions do you draw from declining test scores?

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