Tag Archives: standardized tests

The Advanced Placement exams represent some of the most challenging subject-specific standardized tests a high schooler might ever take, and May is AP month! Every test deserves smart, serious preparation, particularly the ones that can grant college credit to high scorers. So how are you getting ready for your APs? On the Tests and the Rest podcast, we invited expert educators to share key strategies, insights, and resources for getting ready for many of the most popular AP exams: SCIENCE GETTING READY FOR THE AP PHYSICS 1 EXAM GETTING READY FOR THE AP CHEMISTRY EXAM GETTING READY FOR THE AP COMPUTER SCIENCE A EXAM MATH GETTING READY FOR THE AP CALCULUS AB OR BC EXAM GETTING READY FOR THE AP STATISTICS EXAM SOCIAL STUDIES GETTING READY FOR THE AP US HISTORY EXAM GETTING READY FOR THE AP GOVERNMENT EXAM GETTING READY FOR THE AP PSYCHOLOGY EXAM HUMANITIES GETTING READY FOR…

Read more

When someone mentions “tests,” the emotion that flowers in our heads, hearts, or the pits of our stomachs rarely resembles love. Anxiety typically tops the list, but feelings range along an emotional spectrum that encompasses irritation, fear, and flat-out hate. Many become irrational at the very mention of tests; at least one infamous crank has made a cottage industry out of whining about standardized tests. So why do I love tests? I love the challenge of a well-designed test, both the methodical ingenuity behind each question and the inexorable gauntlet of the test as a whole. I love the opportunity to compete against a potential pool of millions of test takers, past, present, and future. And, because I’ve always been good at most tests, I love to win… nailing a particularly tough test feels like a profound victory. However, my personal reasons for appreciating oft-maligned assessments do not, in themselves,…

Read more

No one who knows me or my work would be surprised by my unequivocal endorsement of the value of properly designed and administered standardized tests. Nor would a single soul be shocked by my convictions about the value of the right tests in academic admissions decisions. My support for testing doesn’t spring from my profession as an educator. In fact, the opposite is true. Testing acumen opened access to the kind of high quality high school education most Bronx kids just don’t get. Test scores also secured special scholarships that made a SUNY degree at least somewhat affordable. My experience is, by no means, unique, but neither is it the narrative we’ve heard about testing over the last several years. The SAT was explicitly introduced to open doors to higher education that were previously closed to certain cultural, religious, and ethnic groups. The SAT and ACT still fulfill that mission,…

Read more

Over nearly thirty years as an educator and much longer than that as someone who had to take tests that mattered, one truth about tests has always been evident: entrance exams to academic institutions have too often been seen as obstacles rather than opportunities. This sentiment continues to surprise me in a society where we value both hard work and winning. After all, admissions tests are, by nature of scarce access to institutions, competitions. What Americans don’t like competitions?! That said, I’ve always excelled at tests, so my opinion may be considered biased. I’m far from the only advocation for good entrance exams, though. I found the unattributed quote below in 2021 and have held it back while searching for authorship. Even without knowing what teenager wrote these words, the message tells us a lot about both the messenger and their fundamental understanding of how the opportunity offered by entrance…

Read more

As we approach another Thanksgiving, thoughts naturally turn to what we feel grateful for. Another way to celebrate is to deeply consider why we should be grateful for those things in life we have to deal with, regardless of how much we like them. Few teens look forward to tests like the SAT and ACT; fewer still actually enjoy them. But do these exams represent a necessary evil or a golden opportunity? Imagine yourself as a high school student eager to attend selective institutions, access prestigious honors programs, or earn enough merit scholarship to defray the ever-rising cost of college. Now think about how you’d feel about your prospects if any or all of the following applied to you: your grades don’t reflect your ability. you suffered some academic setbacks along the way. your excellent grades are undermined by your school’s academic reputation. you couldn’t find enough ways to demonstrate…

Read more

ACT, Inc., the eponymous organization that administers the ACT exam just shared some bleak but terribly unsurprising findings: The national average ACT Composite score for the high school class of 2022 was 19.8, the lowest average score in more than three decades, according to data released today by ACT, the nonprofit organization that administers the college readiness exam. It is the first time since 1991 that the average ACT Composite score was below 20.0. Why doesn’t this admittedly disturbing information come as a shock? Obviously, the learning gap during the global pandemic will continue to manifest for years to come in the form of lower academic achievement. But college readiness has been declining for much longer, as our unacceptable 62.2% national six-year college completion rate shows. Janet Godwin, CEO of ACT, agrees: “This is the fifth consecutive year of declines in average scores, a worrisome trend that began long before…

Read more

6/53