Tag Archives: readiness

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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While most applicants expect to earn a Bachelor’s degree in four years, more than half will fail to do so. In fact, fewer than two-thirds of students manage to finish even within six years. Considering how quickly the cost of college has been increasing, those extra years of college come at a tremendous cost. What kind of questions should high schoolers and their families be asking when considering why students don’t complete college in four years? Why does finishing a four-year degree on time matter? What academic issues keep students from finishing college on time? What credit and career planning issues keep students from finishing college on time? What role do or should colleges play in facilitating on-time completion? How can parents prepare high schoolers to finish their degrees on time? To understand both the massive scope and potential solutions to this common problem, I spoke with Rochester-based educational consultant…

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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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