Tag Archives: ACT

If a four-year college, especially a competitive one, is in your future, the question is not if you’ll be taking the SAT or ACT, but rather when. Some families want to start planning for test day during the first week of high school. Others, unfortunately, don’t consider testing until midway through senior year. But, as you’ve surely heard, timing is everything. Taking the SAT or ACT at the right time ensures the right levels of readiness while allowing a buffer for retesting. When should a student take the SAT or ACT? In the absence of extenuating circumstances, the best time to take these tests is 11th grade. Junior year is ideal for the tests for many reasons, which ACT has skillfully summarized: You’ve probably completed the coursework corresponding to the test material. You’ll have your test scores and other information in time to help you plan your senior year. (For…

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We should all follow Denis Waitley’s advice heading into a big test: “Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” But some test day surprises surpass the bounds of common sense… like deer attacks. This past Saturday morning, a deer crashed the party during an SAT administration at Lockport High School.   School Board President John A. Linderman said the deer struck a door in the music wing, damaging a pane on the door, and then ran off. “Some of the kids saw it,” Linderman said. He said no injuries were reported.The pane of glass on the door was broken. Linderman said that despite the drama, the kids were able to complete their testing.   This is the first time I’ve heard about a test disrupted by a deer. Have you heard of other test day wildlife encounters?

Almost a decade ago, the creators of both the SAT and ACT introduced essays to their previously pristine multiple-choice exams. Each organization charted a different course, differing in what the essays are written on, how long students have to write, and, perhaps most importantly, whether students are even required to write the essay. Considering that the College Board is moving towards a longer optional essay, it’s fair to say the ACT model won that particular competition. That said, one more aspect of the ACT essay infrastructure deserves recognition and further consideration from that other testing authority. While both organizations assign students 2-12 essay scores through a similar grading process, ACT provides additional context for performance in the form of stock essay comments. These essay comments, derived from the ACT scoring rubric, are selected by one of the two essay readers for inclusion on the student score report. Code numbers corresponding…

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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

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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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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