Tag Archives: readiness

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 greatest enemy of knowledge, according to Daniel J. Boorstin, is not ignorance. Rather, it is the illusion of knowledge. We think we possess accurate knowledge of academic readiness when we look at grades, but those numbers rarely tell the whole story. Grades tell most of the story of a student’s ability but can be subjective, unfair, or even inflated. Adding data from state or national standardized tests adds necessary clarity and context to grades, which is where the SAT and ACT come in. Both tests mainly provide value as college entrance exams. However, by pegging certain test scores to likely outcomes in college classes, they can also help forecast how students might perform once they begin undergraduate-level work . We’ve been tracking the disappointing trends illuminated by ACT College Readiness Benchmarks for years. Might SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmarks provide a rosier outlook on our nation’s future college…

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With so many critics screeching for an end to standardized exams, you’d think their primary objections centered around how anachronistic #2 pencils seem in a digital age or how debilitating the pressure of a high stakes test can be for parents. Sometimes, though, the real threat of testing lies in what truths the scores reveal. Even if you loathe the idea of college entrance exams playing a significant role in college admissions–even though you shouldn’t–you’ll want to consider the implications of ACT’s annual College Readiness Benchmarks report. 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…

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One reason why college admissions officials put so much weight on SAT and ACT scores is that the test makers put so much weight on what matters in college. Of course, a single exam cannot hope to encapsulate all of the skills, knowledge, and support that enable a student to thrive at the undergraduate level. The right exams can, however, try to forecast success in that first critical year of college. ACT addresses this with their annual College Readiness Benchmarks. 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 39th percentile. ACT Math is associated…

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Has college admissions testing ever been this competitive? I’m not speaking from the test taker’s perspective, though today’s teens seem to fighting harder than ever for seats at name-brand colleges. But the test makers are under massive pressure from each other, traditional testing opponents, and even upstarts trying to break into the lucrative admissions exam market. Economists assure us that competition benefits consumers by driving performance and innovation. One way ACT, Inc. seeks to maintain the top position in the admissions test arms race is by delivering more value in the basic ACT score report. The test maker out of Iowa City has tracked what it calls ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. The College Readiness Benchmarks describe, for each ACT section, the minimum score 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…

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