SAT and ACT are having identity crises

The SAT and ACT have for years assumed that their tests are a good measure of the ability of a student to thrive in college and have failed to address the very real concerns that academia has raised about reliance on testing for admissions. Now, both tests are now claiming that they are good measures of high school success as well as indicators of college readiness. Can either test really be both of those things?

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Jacob FeldmanComment
New Habits for a New Year

SCENE: DINNER TIME
Child stares incessantly at cell phone
Parent: "What happened at school today?"
Child does not look up
Child: "Nothing."
Deafening silence

This dialogue probably sounds familiar to many of you. This single-word response is the habit of nearly every adolescent desperate to ward off the prying questions of their well-meaning parents.

Fear not, parents. There are remedies!

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Jacob FeldmanComment
Testing News

Last year, Nevada had the lowest average ACT scores in the US. However, Nevadans (as well as those in other ACT-mandatory states) should be careful about what conclusions they draw and more so about what they do about those conclusions.

 

For the last seven years, debate has been heated among future MBAs as many business schools began to accept the GRE as well as the GMAT for admissions consideration. Now the same is happening for prospective law school students.

 

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Jacob FeldmanComment
Practice Makes Passion

Who among us hasn't at some point been faced with a daunting and seemingly endless task that was just too unwieldy to confront, let alone tackle? A necessary house project, a work responsibility? For current or recent students, these sorts of hurdles are more common: the bar exam, a prerequisite class, a research paper. What is more frustrating is seeing a colleague or friend pursuing the same end with an incessant smile and an unflappably chipper attitude while you slog through details, drowning in your own boredom.

There is a solution, or at least an approach, which is beautifully laid out by Penelope Trunk, an entrepreneur and writer, in a blog post, reprinted in an article for Business Insider, about her son's audition for the Juilliard Pre-College Program.

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Jacob FeldmanComment
College Board's New Stance on Test Prep

For decades the College Board has maintained that its flagship test, the SAT, was unteachable. The name itself was once an acronym for "Scholastic Aptitude Test," which represented the test designers’ belief that the test measured inherent and unchangeable ability. However, on May 8th the College Board released a statement on its website that seemed to reverse its position. The article leads with its central point:

"New data show studying for the SAT® for 20 hours on free Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy is associated with an average score gain of 115 points, nearly double the average score gain compared to students who don’t use Khan Academy."

First, I should say that I am pleased that College Board has finally admitted what everyone else in the industry has known for years: preparing for standardized tests in advance improves your performance on those tests. It seems self-evident. But why the sudden change?

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