Tag Archives: College Board

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill study: Active learning helps Black and first generation college students

6 Sep

Moi wrote in Remedial education in college:
Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?

The Big Four
A comprehensive college preparation program must address four distinct dimensions of college readiness: cognitive strategies, content knowledge, self-management skills, and knowledge about postsecondary education.
Key Cognitive Strategies
Colleges expect their students to think about what they learn. Students entering college are more likely to succeed if they can formulate, investigate, and propose solutions to nonroutine problems; understand and analyze conflicting explanations of phenomena or events; evaluate the credibility and utility of source material and then integrate sources into a paper or project appropriately; think analytically and logically, comparing and contrasting differing philosophies, methods, and positions to understand an issue or concept; and exercise precision and accuracy as they apply their methods and develop their products.
Key Content Knowledge
Several independently conducted research and development efforts help us identify the key knowledge and skills students should master to take full advantage of college. Standards for Success (Conley, 2003) systematically polled university faculty members and analyzed their course documents to determine what these teachers expected of students in entry-level courses. The American Diploma Project (2004) consulted representatives of the business community and postsecondary faculty to define standards in math and English. More recently, both ACT (2008) and the College Board (2006) have released college readiness standards in English and math. Finally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2008), under mandate of state law, developed one of the first and most comprehensive sets of state-level college readiness standards….
Key Self-Management Skills
In college, students must keep track of massive amounts of information and organize themselves to meet competing deadlines and priorities. They must plan their time carefully to complete these tasks. They must be able to study independently and in informal and formal study groups. They must know when to seek help from academic support services and when to cut their losses and drop a course. These tasks require self-management, a skill that individuals must develop over time, with considerable practice and trial-and-error.
Key Knowledge About Postsecondary Education
Choosing a college, applying, securing financial aid, and then adjusting to college life require a tremendous amount of specialized knowledge. This knowledge includes matching personal interests with college majors and programs; understanding federal and individual college financial aid programs and how and when to complete appropriate forms; registering for, preparing for, and taking required admissions exams; applying to college on time and submitting all necessary information; and, perhaps most important, understanding how the culture of college is different from that of high school….
Students who would be the first in their family to attend college, students from immigrant families, students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups traditionally underrepresented in college, and students from low-income families are much more easily thrown off the path to college if they have deficiencies in any of the four dimensions.http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/What-Makes-a-Student-College-Ready%C2%A2.aspx

The difficult question is whether current testing accurately measures whether students are prepared for college. https://drwilda.com/2012/03/04/remedial-education-in-college/ Once kids are in college, there should be a recognition of different learning styles.

Richard Perez-Pena wrote in the New York Times article, Active Role in Class Helps Black and First-Generation College Students, Study Says:

The trend away from classes based on reading and listening passively to lectures, and toward a more active role for students, has its most profound effects on black students and those whose parents did not go to college, a new study of college students shows.
Active learning raised average test scores more than 3 percentage points, and significantly reduced the number of students who failed the exams, the study found. The score increase was doubled, to more than 6 percentage points, for black students and first-generation college students.
For black students, that gain cut in half their score gap with white students. It eliminated the gap between first-generation students and other students.
The study does not explain the disparate benefits, and “a lot more work needs to go into looking at attitudes and behaviors,” said Kelly A. Hogan, one of the study’s authors. She is the director of instructional innovation for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
But Dr. Hogan noted that disadvantaged students arrived at college with poorer study skills, and a more active approach to learning effectively teaches those skills. Research has also shown that disadvantaged students are less likely to participate in class, and report feeling intimidated or isolated, so they may benefit more from a structure that demands participation and cooperation, she said…. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/03/education/active-learning-study.html?ref=education&_r=1

Citation:

CBE-Life Sciences Educationwww.lifescied.org
1. doi: 10.1187/cbe.14-03-0050 CBE Life Sci Educ vol. 13 no. 3 453-468
• General Articles
Getting Under the Hood: How and for Whom Does Increasing Course Structure Work?
1. Sarah L. Eddy* and
2. Kelly A. Hogan†⇑
+ Affiliations
1. *Department of Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195
2. †Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599
1. Hannah Sevian, Monitoring Editor
• Submitted March 17, 2014.
• Revised May 20, 2014.
• Accepted May 27, 2014.
Abstract
At the college level, the effectiveness of active-learning interventions is typically measured at the broadest scales: the achievement or retention of all students in a course. Coarse-grained measures like these cannot inform instructors about an intervention’s relative effectiveness for the different student populations in their classrooms or about the proximate factors responsible for the observed changes in student achievement. In this study, we disaggregate student data by racial/ethnic groups and first-generation status to identify whether a particular intervention—increased course structure—works better for particular populations of students. We also explore possible factors that may mediate the observed changes in student achievement. We found that a “moderate-structure” intervention increased course performance for all student populations, but worked disproportionately well for black students—halving the black–white achievement gap—and first-generation students—closing the achievement gap with continuing-generation students. We also found that students consistently reported completing the assigned readings more frequently, spending more time studying for class, and feeling an increased sense of community in the moderate-structure course. These changes imply that increased course structure improves student achievement at least partially through increasing student use of distributed learning and creating a more interdependent classroom community.
Footnotes
• Address correspondence to: Kelly Hogan (Kelly_Hogan@unc.edu). Conflict of interest statement: Kelly A. Hogan, a coauthor for Pearson’s Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections, 8th ed., and its associated Mastering Biology online tools (which were used in this study) was not affiliated with the products at the time of the course intervention. No promotion of Mastering Biology to the exclusion of other similar products should be construed.
“ASCB®” and “The American Society for Cell Biology®” are registered trademarks of The American Society of Cell Biology.

Here is the press release from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill:

Active learning in large science classes benefits black and first-generation college students most
Posted on September 2, 2014 by Helen Buchanan
For immediate use
Active learning in large science classes benefits black
and first-generation college students most
The achievement gap disappeared for first-generation students and decreased by half for black students
(Chapel Hill, N.C.—Sept. 2, 2014) In large college science classes, active learning interventions improve achievement for everyone, but especially black and first-generation students, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
When a traditional lecture course was structured to be more interactive, the achievement gap disappeared for first-generation students and decreased by half for black students, according to Kelly Hogan, a biologist and director of instructional innovation in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. Transforming large lecture classes is a priority for the college.
Hogan’s study, “Getting Under the Hood: How and for Whom Does Increasing Course Structure Work?” appears in the Sept. 2 issue of the journal CBE-Life Sciences Education. Her co-author is Sarah L. Eddy of the University of Washington in Seattle. Hogan and Eddy collected data over six semesters at UNC.
The study compares student achievement in classes with “low course structure” to those with “higher course structure.” Low course structure is “a traditional classroom where students come in, listen to the instructor, leave and don’t do anything until the night before the exam,” Hogan said. Higher course structure adds guided reading questions, preparatory homework and in-class activities that reinforce major concepts, study skills and higher-order thinking skills. As an example of an in-class activity, students answered questions using classroom-response software on their laptops and cell phones.
Students are held accountable for the assignments— they are awarded points for being prepared and participating in class.
“If I’m talking at students, they’re shopping, they’re on ESPN or Facebook,” Hogan said. “But if I ask them a question and have them wrestle with it, they are listening now because they are engaged in solving that problem.”
Hogan’s study is one of the few college-level studies to separate student data by racial/ethnic groups and first-generation status to identify which interventions work best for certain groups of students in a large science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) course.
The researchers used surveys at the end of the course to learn how the interventions affected student behaviors and attitudes.
“We found that in the higher course structure, students consistently reported completing the assigned readings more frequently and spent more time studying for class, and there was an increased sense of community,” Hogan said.
Their study also demonstrates that active learning interventions can be transferrable from a Pacific Northwest research university to a Southern research university across three contexts: different instructors, different student populations and different courses (majors vs. nonmajors).
“This is good evidence that an intervention is transferrable, and I think that’s going to be powerful for a lot of teachers in the field,” Hogan said.
More instructors are “flipping” their classes — putting lectures online for students to watch at home and using the classroom for more interactive, collaborative work. But if a class is not flipped with accountability, Hogan said, the students still won’t come to class prepared.
Hogan outlines three key takeaways for instructors that are critical for understanding how to increase student success in large lecture classes:
• Students are not a monolithic group.
• Accountability is essential for changing student behaviors and possibly grades.
• Survey questions are a useful method of identifying what behaviors an instructor might target to increase student performance.
“The message I want to get out to teachers is, ‘go for it,’” Hogan said. “An individual teacher can make a difference.”
The study was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Center for Faculty Excellence at UNC. A link to the study online is available here: http://www.lifescied.org/content/13/3/453.full.
For stories and videos featuring Hogan’s innovation in large lecture classes, visit http://tinyurl.com/m97nyby and http://tinyurl.com/klhpwda.
-Carolina-
College of Arts and Sciences contact: Kim Spurr, (919) 962-4093, spurrk@email.unc.edu
Communications and Public Affairs contact: Susan Hudson, (919) 962-8415, susan_hudson@unc.edu
This entry was posted in Latest News, Science and Technology, Students and tagged UNC Main RSS Feed, UNC News Frontpage, [news-release]. Bookmark the permalink.

There should not be a one size fits all approach. Strategies must be designed for each population of kids.

Other Resources:

Classroom Strategies to Get Boys Reading
http://gettingboystoread.com/content/classroom-strategies-get-boys-reading/

Me Read? A Practical Guide to Improving Boys Literacy Skills http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/brochure/meread/meread.pdf

Understanding Gender Differences: Strategies To Support Girls and Boys http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/PDFpubs/4423.pdf

Helping Underachieving Boys Read Well and Often http://www.ericdigests.org/2003-2/boys.html

Boys and Reading Strategies for Success http://www.k12reader.com/boys-and-reading/

Related:

What the ACT college readiness assessment means https://drwilda.com/2012/08/25/what-the-act-college-readiness-assessment-means/

Study: What skills are needed for ’21st-century learning?’ https://drwilda.com/2012/07/11/study-what-skills-are-needed-for-21st-century-learning/

ACT to assess college readiness for 3rd-10th Grades https://drwilda.com/2012/07/04/act-to-assess-college-readiness-for-3rd-10th-grades/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

Nature article: Does Graduate Record Exam pose a barrier to grad school admission for women and those of color

16 Jun

The Council of Graduate Schools report Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 2002to 2012 by Leila M. Gonzales, Jeffrey R. Allum, and Robert S. Sowell describes enrollment in U.S. graduate schools. http://cgsnet.org/ckfinder/userfiles/files/GEDReport_2012.pdf California State at Long Beach has an excellent description of the application process and a good description of the tests required:

Admissions Examinations
• Graduate Records Exam (GRE)
http://www.gre.org
• Miller Analogies Test (MAT)
http://www.milleranalogies.com
• Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)
http://www.lsac.org
• Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)
http://www.mba.com/MBA
• Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)
http://www.aamc.org
• Dental Aptitude Test (DAT)
http://www.ada.org
• Veterinary Aptitude Test (VAT)
aavmc.org
• Optometry Admissions Test (OAT)
http://www.opted.org
• Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT)
http://www.pcatweb.info
• Teacher Testing (PRAXIS)
http://www.ets.org/praxis
Plan to take the appropriate entrance examination during your junior year or at the latest during the fall of your senior year if you plan to go on to graduate school immediately after college…. http://careers.csulb.edu/majors_and_careers/applying_to_graduate_school.htm

Many women and students of color seem to be eliminated from admission to top graduate science programs by the Graduate Record Exam.

Manhattan Prep describes the Graduate Record Exam or GRE:

Basics: What is the GRE®?
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE®) is a standardized test used by graduate programs to help determine who gets in and who receives grants and fellowships. The exam comes in two types: the general exam, which covers a range of non-specific skills developed over a long period of time and years of schooling, and the subject tests, which test depth of knowledge in eight different fields. Worldwide, about half a million people take the general test each year, while a much smaller number takes the subject exams.
The general test is computer-based and consists of three sections, verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing. Verbal and quant are each scored on a scale of 130-170, in 1-point increments, plus a percentile rank. The writing section is scored on a scale of 0-6, in half-point increments. The test does not cover specifics in any field of study, but rather a set of skills thought to be important for prospective grad students.
The subject tests, on the other hand, are paper-based and administered 3 times a year. Unlike the general test, the subject test assumes extensive knowledge. Tests cover the following areas: Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Literature in English; Mathematics; Physics; and Psychology. To determine whether you should take the general test or one of these subject-specific exams, you’ll need to check with the programs where you’re applying. For any field without a subject test, you’ll take the general exam…. https://www.manhattanprep.com/gre/gre-info.cfm

An article questions the influence of the GRE in the college admission process.

Charlie Tyson reported in the Inside Higher Education article, Is the GRE Too Influential?

The low numbers of female and minority students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields has been fodder for much debate. A new analysis argues that the GRE, a standardized test that most U.S. graduate schools require, is in part to blame.
An article published in the June 12 issue of Nature contends that U.S. universities place too much stress on the GRE when making decisions about graduate admissions. Casey Miller, an associate professor of physics at the University of South Florida, and Keivan Stassun, a professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt University and Fisk University, write that admissions committees, by focusing too squarely on the GRE, are shortchanging women and under-represented minorities and also failing to admit the best students into their Ph.D. programs.
The GRE is a poor predictor of success in the sciences, Miller and Stassun argue. Studies find “only a weak correlation” between high GRE scores and ultimate success in STEM fields.
The test does, however, reflect traits that are unrelated to scholarly potential – such as socioeconomic status, the authors say. (The SAT, a standardized test used in college admissions, perennially receives similar criticisms that high performance on the test is an artifact of family wealth.) The physicists put it bluntly: “the GRE is a better indicator of sex and skin colour than of ability and ultimate success.”
On the quantitative portion of the test, women in the physical sciences score 80 points lower, on average, than men do, according to data from the Educational Testing Service, the company that administers the GRE. African-American test-takers score 200 points lower than whites on the quantitative section.
Some admissions committees, Miller and Stassun report, filter applications using GRE scores. For example, a committee might reject any applicant who has scored below 700 on the GRE’s 800-point quantitative section. This use of GRE scores threatens to delete otherwise qualified female, black and Latino candidates from the applicant pool, Miller and Stassun argue.
The ETS’s guidelines explicitly advise against using cut-off scores for admissions.
The authors argue that admissions committees should attempt to identify applicants who demonstrate “grit and diligence” by (for example) conducting interviews instead of relying so heavily on GRE scores….
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/06/16/stem-graduate-programs-place-too-much-emphasis-gre-scores-physicists-say#ixzz34rSzlnPP

Here is the press release from Nature:

A test that fails
• Casey Miller
• & Keivan Stassun
Nature 510, 303-304 (2014)
doi:10.1038/nj7504-303a

Published online
11 June 2014
This article was originally published in the journal Nature
A standard test for admission to graduate school misses potential winners, say Casey Miller and Keivan Stassun.
Universities in the United States rely too heavily on the graduate record examinations (GRE) — a standardized test introduced in 1949 that is an admissions requirement for most US graduate schools. This practice is poor at selecting the most capable students and severely restricts the flow of women and minorities into the sciences.
We are not the only ones to reach this conclusion. William Sedlacek, professor emeritus of education at the University of Maryland, College Park, who has written extensively on the issue, notes that studies find only a weak correlation between the test and ultimate success in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields. De-emphasizing the GRE and augmenting admissions procedures with measures of other attributes — such as drive, diligence and the willingness to take scientific risks — would not only make graduate admissions more predictive of the ability to do well but would also increase diversity in STEM.
Test disparities
The GRE, like most standardized tests, reflects certain demographic characteristics of test-takers — such as family socioeconomic status — that are unrelated to their intellectual capacity or academic preparation. The exam’s ‘quantitative score’ — the portion measuring maths acumen, which is most commonly scrutinized in admissions to STEM PhD programmes — correlates closely with gender and ethnicity (see ‘The great divide’). The effect is powerful. According to data from Educational Testing Service (ETS), based in Princeton, New Jersey, the company that administers the GRE, women score 80 points lower on average in the physical sciences than do men, and African Americans score 200 points below white people. In simple terms, the GRE is a better indicator of sex and skin colour than of ability and ultimate success.
These correlations and their magnitude are not well known to graduate-admissions committees, which have a changing rota of faculty members. Compounding the problem, some admissions committees use minimum GRE scores to rapidly filter applications; for example, any candidate scoring below 700 on the 800-point quantitative test section may be discarded. Using GRE scores to filter applicants in this way is a violation of ETS’s own guidelines.
This problem is rampant. If the correlation between GRE scores and gender and ethnicity is not accounted for, imposing such cut-offs adversely affects women and minority applicants. For example, in the physical sciences, only 26% of women, compared with 73% of men, score above 700 on the GRE Quantitative measure. For minorities, this falls to 5.2%, compared with 82% for white and Asian people.
” In simple terms, the GRE is a better indicator of sex and skin colour than of ability and ultimate success. ”
The misuse of GRE scores to select applicants may be a strong driver of the continuing under-representation of women and minorities in graduate school. Indeed, women earn barely 20% of US physical-sciences PhDs, and under-represented minorities — who account for 33% of the US university-age population — earn just 6%. These percentages are striking in their similarity to the percentage of students who score above 700 on the GRE quantitative measure.
Why is the GRE misused? Admissions committees are busy, and numerical rankings are easy to sort. We believe that faculty members also often presume that higher scores imply that the test-taker has a greater ability to become a PhD-level scientist. Yet research by ETS indicates that the predictive validity of the GRE tests is limited to first-year graduate-course grades, and even that correlation is meagre in maths-intensive STEM fields.
Why should graduate-admissions committees care about fixing the problem? First, diversity, in the form of individuals with different perspectives, backgrounds and experiences, is a key component of innovation and problem solving, a concept that business and industry have come to recognize. Less diversity in STEM graduate programmes means slower progress in tackling today’s scientific and technical challenges. Second, the overall PhD completion rate in US STEM graduate programmes is a disappointing 50%. Although graduate programmes certainly produce successful students who continue on to productive science careers, we think that many faculty members would agree that such a low PhD completion rate is a poor return on the investment in recruiting and training students. Indeed, STEM graduate programmes are failing not only from the diversity standpoint, but also from a success standpoint.
Alternative selection
So what should universities do? Instead of filtering by GRE scores, graduate programmes can select applicants on the basis of skills and character attributes that are more predictive of doing well in scientific research and of ultimate employability in the STEM workforce. Appraisers should look not only at indicators of previous achievements, but also at evidence of ability to overcome the tribulations of becoming a PhD-level scientist.
A few innovative PhD programmes, including the bridge programmes at the University of South Florida in Tampa and Fisk–Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee (in which we are involved) are doing this. They have achieved completion rates above 80%, well above the national average, and are greatly boosting participation by women and minorities (see Nature 504, 471–473; 2013). The admissions process includes an interview that examines college and research experiences, key relationships, leadership experience, service to community and life goals. The result is a good indication of the individual’s commitment to scientific research and a good assessment of traits such as maturity, perseverance, adaptability and conscientiousness atop a solid academic foundation. The combination of academic aptitude and these other competencies points to the likelihood of high achievement in graduate school and in a STEM career.
How have the students admitted to these courses performed? In the Fisk–Vanderbilt programme, 81% of the 67 students who have entered the programme — including 56 under-represented minorities and 35 women — have earned, or are making good progress towards, their PhDs. And all students who have completed PhDs are employed in the STEM workforce as postdocs, university faculty members or staff scientists in national labs or industry. From the standpoint of optimal outcomes — earning a PhD and obtaining employment in the STEM workforce — the GRE has proved irrelevant. Indeed, 85% of these young scientists would have been eliminated from consideration for PhD programmes by a GRE quantitative cut-off score of 700.
The only downside is that interviews take about 30 minutes each. But the number of interviews need not be large, and the tremendous insight garnered justifies the time. ETS is even marketing a tool for referees to evaluate applicants’ personal attributes. The company developed it in part as a response to calls from applicants and graduate programmes for alternative measures of student potential for long-term achievement that is not captured by GRE.
We often hear admissions committee members say, ‘We would admit women and minorities if they were qualified’. This mindset reflects long-standing admissions practices that systematically, if inadvertently, filter out women and minorities. At the same time, these practices are no better than a coin flip at identifying candidates with the potential — and the mettle — to earn a PhD.
Let us be frank: we believe that many STEM faculty members on admissions committees and upper-level administrators hold a deep-seated and unfounded belief that these test scores are good measures of ability, of potential for doing well in graduate school and of long-term potential as a scientist, and that students who score poorly on standardized exams are not likely to become PhD-level scientists. These assumptions are false.
This is not a call to admit unqualified students in the name of social good. This is a call to acknowledge that the typical weight given to GRE scores in admissions is disproportionate. If we diminish reliance on GRE and instead augment current admissions practices with proven markers of achievement, such as grit and diligence, we will make our PhD programmes more inclusive and will more efficiently identify applicants with potential for long-term success as researchers. Isn’t that what graduate school is about?

Dave Jameson wrote at the American Psychological Association site in the article, The GRE: What it tells us, and what it doesn’t:

Fortunately, the question of the GRE’s validity has spawned its own subgenre of academic literature. Culled from the empirical data published over the last decade, here are a few things we know — and don’t know — about how well this examination predicts the future.
• There’s no way to know whether a low GRE score translates into failure. Students with the lowest GRE scores aren’t admitted into graduate psychology programs, so they never become psychologists. As a result, there’s no way for researchers to know whether the very lowest-scoring students would have gone on to prove their predictors wrong. “It’s certainly true that there’s a restriction of range,” says Robert Sternberg, PhD, a psychologist and provost at Oklahoma State University who’s examined the GRE in his research. “If you had [greater] range, the predictive value of these studies would increase.” This catch-22 makes some researchers wonder why the GRE looms so large in admissions decisions to begin with.
• GRE scores do help reveal which students will do well in the classroom and which won’t. Many studies have found that students with lower GRE scores are more likely to fail their preliminary examinations. Students with total scores higher than 1,167 usually end up with better grade-point averages than their classmates, more published papers and better ratings from faculty, according to a 2004 study by Dale Phillips, PhD, and Kristen McAuliffe in the School Psychologist Newsletter (Vol. 52, No. 2). “Based on the data that’s out there, the GRE is consistently the strongest [predictor] we have of student success,” says Nathan Kuncel, PhD, author of a 2001 GRE meta-analysis published in Psychological Bulletin (Vol. 127, No. 1).
• The GRE’s predictive powers diminish over time. In his 1997 study published in American Psychologist, (Vol. 52, No. 6) Sternberg found that GRE scores tell us most about how students will perform in the first year of grad school. That’s because “you need the same kinds of skills in introductory courses as you do for the GRE,” he says — namely, the basics, such as general reading and quantitative skills — but not necessarily imagination. As grad school grinds on, more abstract skills become increasingly important — for instance, intuiting which journal would be most likely to accept a particular kind of paper. “The GRE doesn’t measure that,” says Sternberg.
• GRE scores are less reliable when it comes to predicting whether a student will eventually complete a psychology program. The exams may predict classroom performance fairly well, but grades aren’t everything. Several researchers have found that the GRE tells us less about whether someone will finish school. Phillips and McAuliffe, for instance, found that GRE scores didn’t differ much between students who eventually graduated and students who didn’t. “Nothing predicts finishing very well,” says Kuncel. In many cases, students drop out because of life circumstances — leaving to take care of an ailing parent, for example. Phillips’s and McAuliffe’s study support that claim: Only 9 percent of students who dropped out said it was because they couldn’t hack the coursework.
• The GRE’s subject test in psychology tells us the most about a student’s potential. Kuncel’s meta-analysis found that the subject test outperformed the verbal, quantitative and analytical tests when it came to predicting students’ grades and whether they’ll eventually earn a degree. “That only makes sense,” says Stephen J. Dollinger, PhD, a psychology professor at Southern Illinois University who’s studied the validity of the GRE. “The student who enters graduate school knowing more psychology should have an easier time starting a thesis [and] passing prelims.”

But the subject test — usually 205 multiple-choice questions — measures more than just psychology knowledge, says Kuncel. A student who is especially passionate about psychology may outperform a fellow student who has been deemed brighter by the GRE’s verbal and quantitative tests. Still, most master’s programs and about half of doctoral programs in psychology don’t insist that you take it. According to Kuncel, many admissions programs probably worry that they’d alienate prospective students by giving them another hoop to jump through.

“That’s the irony,” he says. “The best single predictor is also not required at many programs.” Still, Kuncel “highly recommend[s]” that prospective students take the test anyway, if only to convey their enthusiasm for the field.
In the end, your GRE score will certainly affect which program you get into, but it won’t necessarily predict how well you do once you get there….. http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2011/01/gre.aspx

See, Decide Between GMAT, GRE http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/mba-admissions-strictly-business/2011/07/29/decide-between-gmat-gre

The question is how to teach critical thinking skills. David Carnes wrote the excellent Livestrong article, How to Build Critical Thinking Skills in Children.http://www.livestrong.com/article/167563-how-to-build-critical-thinking-skills-in-children/#ixzz1kB28AgFS

Related:

What , if anything, do education tests mean? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/what-if-anything-do-education-tests-mean/

Complete College America report: The failure of remediation https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/complete-college-america-report-the-failure-of-remediation/

What the ACT college readiness assessment means https://drwilda.com/2012/08/25/what-the-act-college-readiness-assessment-means/

The importance of the National Assessment of Educational Progress https://drwilda.com/2012/09/12/the-importance-of-the-national-assessment-of-educational-progress/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

Transitional courses: Trying to prepare poorly educated high schoolers for college

20 Feb

Moi wrote in Remedial education in college:
Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?

The Big Four
A comprehensive college preparation program must address four distinct dimensions of college readiness: cognitive strategies, content knowledge, self-management skills, and knowledge about postsecondary education.
Key Cognitive Strategies
Colleges expect their students to think about what they learn. Students entering college are more likely to succeed if they can formulate, investigate, and propose solutions to nonroutine problems; understand and analyze conflicting explanations of phenomena or events; evaluate the credibility and utility of source material and then integrate sources into a paper or project appropriately; think analytically and logically, comparing and contrasting differing philosophies, methods, and positions to understand an issue or concept; and exercise precision and accuracy as they apply their methods and develop their products.
Key Content Knowledge
Several independently conducted research and development efforts help us identify the key knowledge and skills students should master to take full advantage of college. Standards for Success (Conley, 2003) systematically polled university faculty members and analyzed their course documents to determine what these teachers expected of students in entry-level courses. The American Diploma Project (2004) consulted representatives of the business community and postsecondary faculty to define standards in math and English. More recently, both ACT (2008) and the College Board (2006) have released college readiness standards in English and math. Finally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2008), under mandate of state law, developed one of the first and most comprehensive sets of state-level college readiness standards….
Key Self-Management Skills
In college, students must keep track of massive amounts of information and organize themselves to meet competing deadlines and priorities. They must plan their time carefully to complete these tasks. They must be able to study independently and in informal and formal study groups. They must know when to seek help from academic support services and when to cut their losses and drop a course. These tasks require self-management, a skill that individuals must develop over time, with considerable practice and trial-and-error.
Key Knowledge About Postsecondary Education
Choosing a college, applying, securing financial aid, and then adjusting to college life require a tremendous amount of specialized knowledge. This knowledge includes matching personal interests with college majors and programs; understanding federal and individual college financial aid programs and how and when to complete appropriate forms; registering for, preparing for, and taking required admissions exams; applying to college on time and submitting all necessary information; and, perhaps most important, understanding how the culture of college is different from that of high school….
Students who would be the first in their family to attend college, students from immigrant families, students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups traditionally underrepresented in college, and students from low-income families are much more easily thrown off the path to college if they have deficiencies in any of the four dimensions.http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/What-Makes-a-Student-College-Ready%C2%A2.aspx

The difficult question is whether current testing accurately measures whether students are prepared for college. https://drwilda.com/2012/03/04/remedial-education-in-college/

Caralee J. Adams reported in the Education Week article, ‘Transitional’ Courses Catch On as College-Prep Strategy:

With many students entering college ill prepared to succeed academically, one remedy states and districts are increasingly bringing to the table is transitional coursework for high schoolers who need extra help.
Take Tennessee. High school teachers and community college faculty members teamed up to develop an online math course, first piloted in 2012, for those who score poorly on the act and need to catch up before graduation. Since then, the initiative has drawn broader support, including backing from Gov. Bill Haslam.
This academic year, the course began to roll out statewide with some $1.12 million from the governor’s “innovation fund.” Mr. Haslam, a Republican, is proposing another $2.6 million to expand the program as part of his fiscal 2014-15 budget.
Eight states now offer transitional curricula statewide to high school students, and another 21 states have locally run initiatives, according to a recent review by the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. The report, issued last May, also found that 25 states, and districts in another 13 states, measure the ability of all high school students by the junior year to succeed in entry-level courses at the postsecondary level.
Early assessments and corresponding course interventions are gaining traction as part of a concerted push to help students leave high school college-ready, said Elisabeth A. Barnett, a researcher at the center who led the recent state review. Her report also found that more than a dozen other states were in the process of planning such programs.
‘Paying Twice’
With the annual cost of providing remedial education in college pegged at nearly $7 billion, based on federal data, states are eager for ways to reduce the need.
“To policymakers, it’s like paying twice for the same education,” said Ms. Barnett.
The transitional curricula being offered by states and districts typically consist of a course, a set of instructional units, online tutorials, or other educational experiences offered no later than 12th grade to students considered at risk of being placed into remedial college courses, according to the Teachers College report.
These programs are designed for students who don’t quite meet college-readiness benchmarks, but who aspire to college and need some extra instruction. Students take the transitional courses during the school day, usually for high school credit with the goal of entering credit-bearing college courses upon matriculation.
A few states, such as California, were early adopters of the transitional approach, but most states have launched their programs in the past two to three years, and interest is rising, according to Ms. Barnett. The issue will be front and center in every state soon with the advent of assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Once students are deemed ready or not—and many educators anticipate that large numbers will not be college-ready—states will be scrambling to find ways to get students up to speed, Ms. Barnett added.
“The huge readiness gap has been apparent for several years, but it is growing, and we will continue to see it grow as the common core takes hold,” said Megan A. Root, a senior associate with the Southern Regional Education Board, in Atlanta, which has been an advocate of what it calls “readiness” courses to ease the transition to college or career training.
The SREB convened teams of teachers, college faculty members, and other experts who worked for three years to develop curricula for a math course and a literacy course for struggling high school students. The courses are being piloted now in 20 schools in seven states, including Arkansas, Indiana, and Louisiana, and the curriculum was posted free online in November. The board is working with 16 states, which have committed to the agenda with varying levels of policy to support it.
While such efforts with transitional curricula may be part of the answer to the challenge of improving college completion, alone they are insufficient, said Phillip Lovell, a vice president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington-based research and advocacy group. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/02/19/21highschool.h33.html?tkn=NUOFOPsd0T8GfgW3DUT6xdmEy4RDZdYvKyv2&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

See. Alliance for Excellent Education http://all4ed.org/issues/college-career-readiness/

Here is an explanation of the Core to College Program:

Core to College
What is Core to College?
Core to College is a multi-state grant initiative designed to promote strong collaboration between higher education and the K-12 sectors in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and aligned assessments. In 12 grantee states – Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington – Core to College is helping states drive higher levels of alignment and collaboration to achieve greater college readiness with financial resources, technical assistance and evaluation support.
How will Core to College Make an Impact?
Core to College has a number of intended state-level outcomes. Each grantee state has identified its own specific activities that support the following:
• Establishing a statewide definition of college readiness.
• Creating the conditions that lead to the adoption by post-secondary institutions of the CCSS assessments as a determinant of a student’s readiness for credit-bearing course enrollment.
• Promoting greater K-12/post-secondary sector alignment around the CCSS in areas including, but not limited to:
o Academic courses and sequences
o Data and accountability
o Teacher development (including both pre-service and in-service)
What are Core to College States Doing?
Core to College grantees have developed a number of strategies and activities to meet their goals:
Convenings. All twelve states are hosting trainings and convenings to foster connections between K-12 educators and leaders and post-secondary faculty and administrators. These are occurring at various levels – state, regional and local.
Dedicated Staff. All grantee states have hired an Alignment Director to add critical cross-sector capacity and drive the collaborative work forward.
Communications. States are developing communications plans to create and disseminate information about the Common Core State Standards and assessments, and how these new tools will improve college readiness and college completion in their state.
Data Activities. The grantee states plan to gather, analyze and distribute information about student transitions and preparedness to ensure that collaboration and initiatives are supported by outcomes data; in some cases, states will be collecting and sharing post-secondary student outcomes with high schools in their state.
Core to College is a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors with funding from the Lumina Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. WestEd will conduct an independent evaluation of the project. Education First is the project manager and oversees the Core to College Learning Network. For more information contact Anand Vaishnav at
avaishnav@education-first.com.
http://rockpa.org/page.aspx?pid=580

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, moi said:
There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the state of education in America. A lot of that dissatisfaction comes from the belief that the education system fails to actually educate children and to teach them critical thinking skills.
K-12 education must not only prepare students by teaching basic skills, but they must prepare students for training after high school, either college or vocational. There should not only be a solid education foundation established in K-12, but there must be more accurate evaluation of whether individual students are “college ready.” https://drwilda.com/2012/01/22/critical-thinking-is-an-essential-trait-of-an-educated-person/

Related:

What the ACT college readiness assessment means https://drwilda.com/2012/08/25/what-the-act-college-readiness-assessment-means/

Study: What skills are needed for ’21st-century learning?’ https://drwilda.com/2012/07/11/study-what-skills-are-needed-for-21st-century-learning/

ACT to assess college readiness for 3rd-10th Grades https://drwilda.com/2012/07/04/act-to-assess-college-readiness-for-3rd-10th-grades/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

According to SAT report many kids aren’t ready for college

26 Sep

Moi wrote in Remedial education in college:
Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?
T

he Big Four
A comprehensive college preparation program must address four distinct dimensions of college readiness: cognitive strategies, content knowledge, self-management skills, and knowledge about postsecondary education.
Key Cognitive Strategies
Colleges expect their students to think about what they learn. Students entering college are more likely to succeed if they can formulate, investigate, and propose solutions to nonroutine problems; understand and analyze conflicting explanations of phenomena or events; evaluate the credibility and utility of source material and then integrate sources into a paper or project appropriately; think analytically and logically, comparing and contrasting differing philosophies, methods, and positions to understand an issue or concept; and exercise precision and accuracy as they apply their methods and develop their products.
Key Content Knowledge
Several independently conducted research and development efforts help us identify the key knowledge and skills students should master to take full advantage of college. Standards for Success (Conley, 2003) systematically polled university faculty members and analyzed their course documents to determine what these teachers expected of students in entry-level courses. The American Diploma Project (2004) consulted representatives of the business community and postsecondary faculty to define standards in math and English. More recently, both ACT (2008) and the College Board (2006) have released college readiness standards in English and math. Finally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2008), under mandate of state law, developed one of the first and most comprehensive sets of state-level college readiness standards….
Key Self-Management Skills
In college, students must keep track of massive amounts of information and organize themselves to meet competing deadlines and priorities. They must plan their time carefully to complete these tasks. They must be able to study independently and in informal and formal study groups. They must know when to seek help from academic support services and when to cut their losses and drop a course. These tasks require self-management, a skill that individuals must develop over time, with considerable practice and trial-and-error.
Key Knowledge About Postsecondary Education
Choosing a college, applying, securing financial aid, and then adjusting to college life require a tremendous amount of specialized knowledge. This knowledge includes matching personal interests with college majors and programs; understanding federal and individual college financial aid programs and how and when to complete appropriate forms; registering for, preparing for, and taking required admissions exams; applying to college on time and submitting all necessary information; and, perhaps most important, understanding how the culture of college is different from that of high school….
Students who would be the first in their family to attend college, students from immigrant families, students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups traditionally underrepresented in college, and students from low-income families are much more easily thrown off the path to college if they have deficiencies in any of the four dimensions.http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/What-Makes-a-Student-College-Ready%C2%A2.aspx

The difficult question is whether current testing accurately measures whether students are prepared for college. https://drwilda.com/2012/03/04/remedial-education-in-college/

Joy Resmovits reported in the article, SAT Results For 2013 Show Low Rates Of College Preparedness:

Only 43 percent of test-takers in 2013 met the SAT’s definition of being prepared for college, a statistic that has remained stagnant since 2009.
The 1.6 million test-takers averaged 496 in reading, 514 on math and 488 on writing, according to a Thursday report released by the College Board, the company behind the notorious college entrance exams.
The College Board defines the college-ready benchmark as 1550 out of 2400, a score the organization says indicates a 65 percent likelihood of a student earning a first-year college GPA of a B-minus or above.
What, exactly, these numbers mean is up for debate. The college readiness statistics are just one more piece of the puzzle in assessing the state of America’s schools, and the release comes amid a national hand wringing about just how bad public education really is and what direction it should take. Most states are beginning to teach to a new set of national standards known as the Common Core, but many parents and politicians are either unaware or skeptical.
For its part, the College Board is interpreting high schoolers’ performance on its test as a call for improvement. To be truly prepared for college, the company maintained in a call with reporters, students need access to higher-level courses — such as the Advanced Placement program, another College Board offering.
“While some might see stagnant scores as no news, we at the College Board see this as a call to action,” College Board President David Coleman said during the call….http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/26/sat-results-2013_n_3991523.html?utm_hp_ref=@education123

Hally Z. writes at College Toolkit.com in the article SAT Vs. ACT: Which Test Should I Take?

Composition
The SAT is made up of 10 sections composed of three critical reading, three math and three writing sections, which are scored, and one experimental section, which is not scored. The ACT consists of four sections composed of English, math, reading and science. There is also an optional writing test included with both exams.
Scoring
The SAT has a total score range of 600 to 2400 based on the sum of the three subject scores, each of which range from 200 to 800. The writing essay receives a score of 0 to 12 and is computed into the SAT final score. The ACT has a composite score of 1 to 36 based on the average of the four test sections. Each section is also separately scored from 1 to 36. The optional writing test for the ACT is scored from 0 to 12, and its score is not included in the ACT composite score.
Wrong Answer Penalty
The SAT deducts ¼ of a point for every wrong answer, except for math grids. With the ACT, wrong answers are not penalized.
Score History
For both the SAT and ACT, you decide which scores are sent to the college or university.
Philosophy
The SAT assesses your critical thinking and test-taking skills. Problems are worded to be intentionally confusing. Your innate ability to dissect a problem and solve it is tested more than your knowledge of actual subject matters. In contrast, the ACT focuses more on assessing your knowledge of specific subject matters such as biology, chemistry and geometry.
Test Preparation
SAT study materials attempt to improve your critical thinking and test-taking skills. ACT study materials try to improve your breadth and depth of knowledge on specific school subjects.
Which Test Is Better for Me?
Based on the above information, you may be wondering which test is more difficult to take. The answer depends on your style of thinking and study. If you excel at accumulating information about classroom subjects, solving equations using set formulae and reading literature, then the ACT may be better for you. If you enjoy semantics and picking apart a problem, or analyzing mathematical or scientific principles, then the SAT would be better suited to you.
When deciding whether to take the SAT or ACT, first find out which test is demanded by the colleges or universities of your choice. Many schools prefer one exam over the other. Other schools accept either exam (e.g., Yale University). In some cases, even though a school states that it “accepts” a particular exam, this does not imply that it will take one exam in lieu of another — it means only that the school will take additional test scores into consideration. If you are unsure about a particular school’s exact test requirements, contact its admissions office.
If time and money permit, you could benefit from taking both exams. You will be able to choose from your higher scored exam should the school not have a preference about accepting the SAT or ACT standardized test.
Alternatively, you might consider taking a practice SAT and a practice ACT. You can see which one you score better on and then focus your test prep efforts on that standardized test.
http://colleges.collegetoolkit.com/guides/test_prep/ACT_vs_SAT_Which_Test_Should_I_Take.aspx

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, moi said:
There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the state of education in America. A lot of that dissatisfaction comes from the belief that the education system fails to actually educate children and to teach them critical thinking skills.
K-12 education must not only prepare students by teaching basic skills, but they must prepare students for training after high school, either college or vocational. There should not only be a solid education foundation established in K-12, but there must be more accurate evaluation of whether individual students are “college ready.” https://drwilda.com/2012/01/22/critical-thinking-is-an-essential-trait-of-an-educated-person/

Related:

What the ACT college readiness assessment means
https://drwilda.com/2012/08/25/what-the-act-college-readiness-assessment-means/

Study: What skills are needed for ’21st-century learning?’
https://drwilda.com/2012/07/11/study-what-skills-are-needed-for-21st-century-learning/

ACT to assess college readiness for 3rd-10th Grades
https://drwilda.com/2012/07/04/act-to-assess-college-readiness-for-3rd-10th-grades/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

More kids taking both ACT and SAT

10 Aug

Moi has written about both the SAT and ACT college entrance tests. In College Board to redesign SAT test, moi wrote:

Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/What-Makes-a-Student-College-Ready%C2%A2.aspx https://drwilda.com/2012/10/06/many-not-ready-for-higher-education/
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/14/college-readiness-what-are-soft-skills/

There are two primary tests which access student preparedness for college, the ACT and the SAT. The SAT is owned by the College Board which has announced they will be redesigning the test. The ACT has overtaken the ACT as the primary test assessment. https://drwilda.com/2013/03/03/college-board-to-redesign-sat-test/
See, College Board Announces Sweeping SAT Redesign http://www.educationnews.org/higher-education/college-board-announces-sweeping-sat-redesign/
Apparently, more students are taking both the ACT and SAT.

Tamar Lewin reported in the New York Times article, Testing More Students Are Taking Both the ACT and SAT:

Admissions officers worry that test prep has become the main junior-year extracurricular activity. Preparing for both tests, they say, may be overkill. They point to parents as the ones cranking up the testing pressure.
“I think the dramatic increase over the last five years in the number of ACT scores we receive comes in conjunction with the increased selectivity,” said Eric J. Furda, dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania. “More and more parents think they can’t just stick with the regular road map for getting into college but need to consider every option that might help them show their child in the best possible light.”
At Shaker Heights High School in Ohio, Eileen Blattner, chairwoman of the guidance department, said that all but seven of the top 10 percent of the graduating class took both the ACT and SAT, and then took their better test once or twice more.
“I say, all the time, ‘Don’t go crazy,’ but particularly for parents who use it as a ring on their finger if their kids get into a high-status school, they’re going to have their kids take and take and take the tests.”
If it were up to Robert Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, an advocacy group critical of standardized testing, neither test would be required. (His organization compiles a list of hundreds of colleges that are test-optional.) But he does see one positive aspect in the rise of the ACT as a state-mandated test.
“In 2013, there were proposals in a number of states to integrate a college admissions test into the state system, and as states come out of the recession, we may see more,” Mr. Schaeffer said. “Using a college admissions test as the state’s high school test cuts out one test, which responds to growing pressure from teachers that enough is enough.”
Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming require students to take the test, and Arkansas pays for the ACT if districts want to offer it. The SAT has only Delaware, Idaho and Maine.
There are clear differences between the tests. The ACT has four long sections, the SAT 10 shorter ones. The ACT has a science section and covers more advanced math, including trigonometry.
“A third of SAT reading is vocabulary, so for students with limited vocabulary, the ACT is better,” said Sasha DeWind, director at Tutor Associates, based in New York. “The questions are passage-based, and if you understand the passage, you’ll probably get the answer right. And even though the ACT covers harder math, it’s more similar to what students have done in school. The SAT is about getting the students to understand what they’re being asked.”
Speed is more of an issue on the ACT, she said, with many students finding that they do not have enough time to work through all the questions (the ACT allows only 45 minutes for 75 English questions and 35 minutes for 40 reading questions, while the SAT gives 70 minutes for 67 reading questions and 35 minutes for 49 writing questions).
“Students with learning disabilities who qualify for extra time usually do better taking the ACT, where the extra time really matters,” she said. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/education/edlife/more-students-are-taking-both-the-act-and-sat.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0

There are pros and cons of both the SAT and ACT.

According to Allen Grove who wrote the article, SAT Score Choice at About.com:

1. SAT Score Choice Can Reduce Exam Time Stress
At most colleges, the SAT (or ACT) is an important part of the application. A lot rides on the exam, so it’s easy to start panicking during the test if you don’t think it’s going well. With SAT Score Choice, at least you have the comfort of knowing that you can take the exam again and not report a set a bad scores (but see #5 for exceptions).
2. Score Choice Allows for Freshman and Sophomore Year Trial Runs
While I don’t encourage high school freshman and sophomores to take the SAT, Score Choice makes doing so carry fewer consequences. With the new policy, if students who are in their first years of high school want to take a trial run at the exam, they can do so with less worry that a low score will undermine their applications. Getting a set of scores early on can let students know how much test preparation might be necessary to get into their top choice colleges.
3. SAT Score Choice Can Cost You Money
Obviously if you take the SAT multiple times, you will need to pay for the exam each time. You will also find that the cost of reporting scores to colleges and scholarship programs goes up. When you take the SAT, you have nine days to select four recipients who will receive score reports at no cost to you. However, scores aren’t released until about 2 1/2 weeks after the exam. Thus, if you are going to hold back scores to take advantage of the SAT Score Choice option, you will lose your four free score reports.
4. At Some Colleges, SAT Score Choice Will Weaken Your Application
SAT Score Choice allows you to send all the scores from a single exam sitting. Let’s say you take the SAT twice with these results:
• May: 570 Reading; 620 Math; 550 Writing (for 1740 combined)
• Oct: 540 Reading; 650 Math; 580 Writing (for 1770 combined)
With Score Choice, you would send the October scores to colleges since they are 30 points higher than May. You would have a 1770 SAT score.
Many colleges, however, don’t look at your best test day, but your best individual scores. In the example above, the best scores span both exams: 570 Reading (May), 650 Math (October) and 580 Writing (October). A school that counts just your highest individual scores would give you a 1800 SAT score. Your application is stronger without Score Choice.
5. Some Colleges Require All Scores Despite Score Choice
Many selective colleges and universities aren’t fond of SAT Score Choice. They don’t want to see a scenario in which students who can afford to do so take the SAT a dozen times. Thus, many top colleges and universities are requiring students to report scores from all test sittings even with the new SAT Score Choice option.
6. SAT Score Choice Disadvantages Low-Income Students
The cost of the SAT exam isn’t extravagant ($45 in 2009), but for many students from families with modest incomes, the cost is a barrier to taking the exam multiple times. The SAT and ACT have always worked to the advantage of students who can afford tutoring and test prep courses, and SAT Score Choice is likely to widen the financial divide. (Low income students should note, however, that fee waivers may be available through their schools. Fee waivers will cover two exam sittings.)
7. SAT Score Choice Complicates the Common Application
The beauty of the Common Application is that you can prepare a single application for multiple colleges. SAT Score Choice complicates the process. Three schools could have three different policies: one might respect Score Choice, one might be test-optional, and one might require you to report all scores. Thus, you might need to create three separate Common Applications to have the strongest application at each school. This can be done, but it opens the door for mistakes, especially if your high school is submitting records and recommendations electronically through The Common Application. http://collegeapps.about.com/od/sat/tp/sat-score-choice.htm

Hally Z. writes at College Toolkit.com in the article SAT Vs. ACT: Which Test Should I Take?

Composition
The SAT is made up of 10 sections composed of three critical reading, three math and three writing sections, which are scored, and one experimental section, which is not scored. The ACT consists of four sections composed of English, math, reading and science. There is also an optional writing test included with both exams.
Scoring
The SAT has a total score range of 600 to 2400 based on the sum of the three subject scores, each of which range from 200 to 800. The writing essay receives a score of 0 to 12 and is computed into the SAT final score. The ACT has a composite score of 1 to 36 based on the average of the four test sections. Each section is also separately scored from 1 to 36. The optional writing test for the ACT is scored from 0 to 12, and its score is not included in the ACT composite score.
Wrong Answer Penalty
The SAT deducts ¼ of a point for every wrong answer, except for math grids. With the ACT, wrong answers are not penalized.
Score History
For both the SAT and ACT, you decide which scores are sent to the college or university.
Philosophy
The SAT assesses your critical thinking and test-taking skills. Problems are worded to be intentionally confusing. Your innate ability to dissect a problem and solve it is tested more than your knowledge of actual subject matters. In contrast, the ACT focuses more on assessing your knowledge of specific subject matters such as biology, chemistry and geometry.
Test Preparation
SAT study materials attempt to improve your critical thinking and test-taking skills. ACT study materials try to improve your breadth and depth of knowledge on specific school subjects.
Which Test Is Better for Me?
Based on the above information, you may be wondering which test is more difficult to take. The answer depends on your style of thinking and study. If you excel at accumulating information about classroom subjects, solving equations using set formulae and reading literature, then the ACT may be better for you. If you enjoy semantics and picking apart a problem, or analyzing mathematical or scientific principles, then the SAT would be better suited to you.
When deciding whether to take the SAT or ACT, first find out which test is demanded by the colleges or universities of your choice. Many schools prefer one exam over the other. Other schools accept either exam (e.g., Yale University). In some cases, even though a school states that it “accepts” a particular exam, this does not imply that it will take one exam in lieu of another — it means only that the school will take additional test scores into consideration. If you are unsure about a particular school’s exact test requirements, contact its admissions office.
If time and money permit, you could benefit from taking both exams. You will be able to choose from your higher scored exam should the school not have a preference about accepting the SAT or ACT standardized test.
Alternatively, you might consider taking a practice SAT and a practice ACT. You can see which one you score better on and then focus your test prep efforts on that standardized test.
http://colleges.collegetoolkit.com/guides/test_prep/ACT_vs_SAT_Which_Test_Should_I_Take.aspx

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, moi said:
There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the state of education in America. A lot of that dissatisfaction comes from the belief that the education system fails to actually educate children and to teach them critical thinking skills. The University of Maine at Augusta defines an educated person:

An educated person exhibits knowledge and wisdom; recognizes and respects the diversity of nature and society; demonstrates problem solving skills; engages in planning and managing practices; navigates the on-line world; writes and speaks well; acts with integrity; and appreciates the traditions of art, culture, and ideas. Developing these abilities is a life-long process. http://www.uma.edu/educatedperson.html

Essential to this definition is the development of critical thinking skills.

The Critical Thinking Community has several great articles about critical thinking at their site. In the section, Defining Critical Thinking:

A Definition
Critical thinking is that mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem – in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.
The Result
A well cultivated critical thinker:
o raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and
precisely;
o gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to
interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
o thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought,
recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
o communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.
Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism. (Taken from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008).http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766

The question is how to teach critical thinking skills. David Carnes wrote the excellent Livestrong article, How to Build Critical Thinking Skills in Children.http://www.livestrong.com/article/167563-how-to-build-critical-thinking-skills-in-children/#ixzz1kB28AgFS

Related:

What , if anything, do education tests mean?
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/what-if-anything-do-education-tests-mean/

Complete College America report: The failure of remediation
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/complete-college-america-report-the-failure-of-remediation/

What the ACT college readiness assessment means
https://drwilda.com/2012/08/25/what-the-act-college-readiness-assessment-means/

The importance of the National Assessment of Educational Progress
https://drwilda.com/2012/09/12/the-importance-of-the-national-assessment-of-educational-progress/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com
Dr. Wilda says this about that ©
Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
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Stanford University report: Advanced placement may not be the cure for education ills

30 Apr

 

Moi wrote about doubts concerning the rush toward advanced placement classes in An interesting critique of the College Board’s AP test report:

 

Moi wrote in Who should take AP classes?

 

AP is a program designed by the College Board, the same organization that designs and administers college entrance exams like the SAT and ACTAP consists of more than 30 courses and exams, which cover a variety of subject areas. The College Board describes the value of AP.

 

Receive recognition by more than 90 percent of colleges in the United States and colleges in more than 60 other countries, which grant credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of AP Exam grades.

 

In other words, AP is designed to boast the chances of students in gaining admittance to colleges, especially those colleges who are known to be highly selective. AP Program

 

 AASU Research

 

This research seems to say that a highly motivated person will succeed in college whether they have taken AP coursework or not. But, all things being equal, the AP program appears to help children in later academic work. The rigorous curriculum is given as the explanation for later student achievement.

 

A paper in the Southern Economic Journal by Klopfenstein and others looks at the link between AP coursework and college success.

 

Our research finds no conclusive evidence that, for the average student, AP experience has a causal impact on early college success. Our findings support a clear distinction between courses that are “college preparatory” and those that are “college level.” The former type of course emphasizes the development of skills needed to succeed in college, such as note taking, study skills, and intellectual discipline; the latter type assumes that such skills are already in place. At-risk high school students particularly benefit from skills-based instruction, including “how to study, how to approach academic tasks, what criteria will be applied, and how to evaluate their own and others’ work,” where writing and revising are ongoing…. It is important to recognize that prediction and causality are not the same, and that the practice of placing extraordinary weight on AP participation in the college admissions process absent evidence of human capital gains from program participation distorts incentives. Our research finds that AP course-taking alone may be predictive of college success, a finding that is consistent with College Board research by Dodd et al. (2007) but casts doubt on the notion that AP participation imparts a positive causal impact on college performance for the typical student. …

 

This report seems to conclude that the reason AP students are successful is that they are highly motivated to succeed and achieve. Southern Economic Journal

 

For a good overview of why students take AP courses, see Grace Chen’s article, How AP Classes Benefit a Public School Student’s Future

 

AP courses tend to attract students who are preparing for college and are very goal oriented. So, what if a student either doesn’t want to go to college or may want a career, should they take AP courses? Since the average person, according to Career Information Online will have three to five careers over the course of a life time, the best advice to everyone is prepare for any eventuality. Even if students don’t attend college after high school, they may attend later as part of a career change. Many former automobile workers are now getting college degrees in nursing and other fields, for example. The College Board releases an annual report about the AP test. https://drwilda.com/2012/02/14/who-should-take-ap-classes/https://drwilda.com/tag/how-ap-classes-benefit-a-public-school-students-future/

 

A Stanford University report challenges some of the basic assumptions about advanced placement classes.

 

 

Valerie Strauss posts in the Washington Post article, AP program isn’t all it’s cracked up to be — study:

 

 

A new study from Stanford University that reviews research on the Advanced Placement program of college-level high school courses concludes that the common wisdom about AP — including about how much benefit students get from it  — is not accurate.

 

The white paper challenges these four basic common assumptions about AP:

 

  • The AP program  gives students several advantages in terms of college

  • The AP program helps to narrow achievement gaps

  • AP programs enrich students’ high school experiences

  • Schools with AP programs are better than schools without AP programs

 

The review of existing research on the AP program was undertaken by Denise Pope with Madeline Levine, both co-founders of Challenge Success, a research-based organization at Stanford University that develops holistic curriculum, conferences and other programs for parents, schools and students.  Pope is also a senior lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/04/26/study-ap-program-isnt-all-its-cracked-up-to-be/

 

The report, “The Advanced Placement Program: Living Up to Its Promise?” makes the following suggestions for teachers and students:

 

 

Suggestions for Students

 

Before enrolling in an AP class, carefully consider your reasons for doing so. There are several good reasons to take an AP course: you are passionate about the subject; you want to be in a small rigorous class with motivated, engaged students and a highly knowledgeable, prepared teacher; and you are willing and prepared to put in the extra time and effort.

 

 

Don’t take AP courses just to get into college. While many elite colleges will expect applicants to have enrolled in rigorous and challenging courses, particularly in subject areas of interest to the student, AP enrollment alone will not guarantee your college admission. Moreover, taking AP courses and doing poorly because you are taking them for the wrong reasons or are not interested in the subject or are in over your head or are spread too thin will not reflect well upon you, nor will taking AP courses that cause undue stress, limit your ability to participate in other meaningful activities, or impact your ability to get enough sleep each night. It’s best to enroll in AP courses only in areas that are of real interest to you and in which you are prepared and able to work hard.

 

 

Do your homework ahead of time. Know that not all AP courses are the same, even within the same subject. In spite of the common curriculum, courses vary between schools and between teachers. Avail yourself of older or experienced students, guidance counselors, information nights, and teacher expertise. Gather as much information from them as possible so that you have realistic expectations about the course content, expectations, quality, and workload.

 

 Understand how colleges award credit for AP courses. Policies for awarding credit vary between colleges and universities and even within universities, between departments. Some colleges may award college credit for passing scores (though what constitutes a passing score varies between institutions); others may not award credit but will allow students to forego prerequisite courses; while others still may not even allow students to opt out of introductory level courses. Furthermore, many students feel that it is valuable to repeat coursework in college even if they took the equivalent AP courses in high school and earned passing scores on their AP exams.

 

 

If you are enrolled in an AP course and it is not going well, get help. Perhaps you’ve just hit a difficult topic and you need a little extra support, or perhaps you are in over your head and need to find a way to get out of the course. Talk with your teachers, guidance counselors, and principals. They will be able to help you formulate the best strategy.

 

 

If you are deeply interested in a subject but do not have AP courses available to you, explore other avenues. Look into your school’s honors courses or find out if you can enroll in a course at a local college. If you take a rigorous, advanced course and are then interested in taking the AP exam, you may. Students can take AP exams even when they aren’t enrolled in an official AP course.

 

 

If you are interested in taking the AP exam but cannot afford it, do not be deterred. Financial assistance is available. Visit the College Board website.

 

Suggestions for Educators

 

If you are considering implementing an AP program in your school, consider the level of readiness and preparation of all involved. Do students and teachers have the background and support necessary to succeed? Are students in an AP program likely to thrive without the program being too big of a drain on the non-AP students? Take a hard look at the potential costs: teachers will require ongoing professional development, non-AP students will likely be in larger classes, non-AP course offerings might be reduced, and non-AP students may have less access to the best teachers in the school. Think carefully about whether it might be a better allocation of resources to invest in improving all existing classes and working with teachers to differentiate instruction for all learners.

 

 

Know that in places where the AP program is being effectively used as a tool for school reform and increasing student achievement, the AP is but one part of a larger reform effort. Effective programs such as the National Math + Science Initiative not only provide access to and encourage enrollment in AP courses, they provide many supports such as funding, teacher training, and student tutoring, which are all crucial to the program’s success.

 

 

If you are assessing an existing AP program in your school, pay attention to how many students are passing the AP exams. As noted in one study above, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing if some students are earning scores of 1 or 2 on AP exams. Perhaps these students were still exposed to a level of rigor that they might otherwise not have been, or perhaps the program is new and the kinks are still getting worked out. We suggest if the majority of AP students are not able to earn passing grades on the exams, check both the rigor level of the course and whether the teachers and students are prepared for this type of course and assessment. Make sure that the course curriculum is adequate for cultivating a deep understanding of the subject matter. It might be that the curriculum is not well aligned with the test or with the needs of your students.

 

 

Invite students (and their parents) interested in AP courses to attend an AP information session that provides an overview of your school’s AP program, course requirements and expectations, and a discussion of the commitment involved. Teachers from each department should be available to answer questions and provide information including course syllabi, sample assignments, and any expectations for summer work. In an effort to make sure students have given serious and realistic thought to their obligations and time management, consider also requiring students to get permission/signatures from parents, counselors, and teachers for each AP course in which they wish to enroll. Download our free scheduling tool to help facilitate better course scheduling and time management.

 

 

Establish an open enrollment policy, and make AP classes available to all students who have an interest in taking them, not just top-tier students. Students can benefit from the AP for various reasons including their passion for a topic, the need for a challenge, or the exposure to what it means to do college-level coursework. However, along with open enrollment, consider creating a safety net for students in serious academic trouble who may need to be re-assigned mid-semester, so that they have an option other than failure. Some schools have had success when they combine AP and non-AP sections together in one classroom, where AP students do supplemental reading, research, and writing and meet a few additional times to prepare for the test. This way all students may benefit from increased rigor and better teaching.                      http://www.challengesuccess.org

 

© 2013 Challenge Success

 

For Further Information

 

Challenge Success offers parenting classes and professional

 

development workshops specifically on improving curriculum and assessment, as well as other issues that concern parents and schools. Please consider making a donation to Challenge Success to support our work so that we can continue to keep you informed on improving school practices. For more information please visit us at our website.

 

Assuming your school has an effective process for course enrollment that includes consultation with teachers and guidance counselors, and assuming you also have a safety net in place that allows for course re-assignment midstream if students need to transfer out of AP courses, don’t cap or limit the number of AP classes in which students are permitted to enroll. We have found that there is no magic number or formula for determining the optimal number of AP courses for students. As mentioned above, our research shows that stress levels in students are not necessarily correlated to the number of AP classes they take. Some students will be able to handle a few AP courses at once and the homework load that accompanies them; while others will be unduly stressed by taking only one AP course (Challenge Success, 2011). Rarely do we see students who can handle 4 or 5 AP courses at once who are still able to participate in extracurricular activities and get the sleep they need, but setting general caps may not work as well as helping each student find the right courses and challenge levels that will allow for optimal learning.

 

 

Don’t confuse AP rigor with load. We have seen several successful teachers who can curb the homework load in their AP courses without sacrificing test scores. Just because a course is rigorous and offers college-level work, does not mean that students need to complete hours and hours of homework each night to succeed. Students may benefit more from fewer assignments and a focus on deep understanding of concepts learned in class. Some teachers offer an AP course over two years instead of one, in order to make the load more manageable for students. For more on how to make homework more effective and meaningful, see our Challenge Success white paper, “Changing the conversation about homework from quantity and achievement to quality and engagement.”

 

 

Whatever your school decides about its AP policies and offerings, make sure that the School Profile that accompanies every college application accurately reflects your school’s policies and most current offerings so that colleges will know how to interpret a student’s choices.

 

Citation:

 

“The Advanced Placement Program:
Living Up to Its Promise?”

Download it for Free.

 

 

There is an “arms race” going on in American Education. More people are asking whether college is the right choice for many. The U.S. has de-emphasized high quality vocational and technical training in the rush to increase the number of students who proceed to college in pursuit of a B.A. Often a graduate degree follows. The Harvard paper, Pathways to Prosperity argues for more high quality vocational and technical opportunities:

 

The implication of this work is that a focus on college readiness alone does not equip young people with all of the skills and abilities they will need in the workplace, or to successfully complete the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This was highlighted in a 2008 report published by Child Trends, which compared research on the competencies required for college readiness, workplace readiness and healthy youth development. The report found significant overlaps. High personal expectations, self-management, critical thinking, and academic achievement are viewed as highly important for success in all three areas. But the report also uncovered some striking differences. For instance: while career planning, previous work experience, decision making, listening skills, integrity, and creativity are all considered vital in the workplace, they hardly figure in college readiness.                                                                               http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news_events/features/2011/Pathways_to_Prosperity_Feb2011.pdf

 

There is a reluctance to promote vocational opportunities in the U.S. because the is a fear of tracking individuals into vocational training and denying certain groups access to a college education. The compromise could be a combination of both quality technical training with a solid academic foundation. Individuals may have a series of careers over the course of a career and a solid foundation which provides a degree of flexibility is desired for survival in the future. See, Why go to college? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/why-go-to-college/

 

Related:

 

Poor people and school choice: The Cristo Rey work/school model https://drwilda.com/2013/01/22/poor-people-and-school-choice-the-cristo-rey-work-schoolmodel/

 

Study: What skills are needed for ’21st-century learning?’ https://drwilda.com/2012/07/11/study-what-skills-are-needed-for-21st-century-learning/

 

Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/critical-thinking-is-an-essential-trait-of-an-educated-person/

 

Borrowing from work: Schools teach career mapping https://drwilda.com/2012/03/24/borrowing-from-work-schools-teach-career-mapping/

 

 

 

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                      http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

 

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                             http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

 

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                                    https://drwilda.com/

 

 

An interesting critique of the College Board’s AP test report

10 Mar

Moi wrote in Who should take AP classes?

AP is a program designed by the College Board, the same organization that designs and administers college entrance exams like the SAT and ACTAP consists of more than 30 courses and exams, which cover a variety of subject areas. The College Board describes the value of AP.

Receive recognition by more than 90 percent of colleges in the United States and colleges in more than 60 other countries, which grant credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of AP Exam grades.

In other words, AP is designed to boast the chances of students in gaining admittance to colleges, especially those colleges who are known to be highly selective. AP Program

 AASU Research

This research seems to say that a highly motivated person will succeed in college whether they have taken AP coursework or not. But, all things being equal, the AP program appears to help children in later academic work. The rigorous curriculum is given as the explanation for later student achievement.

A paper in the Southern Economic Journal by Klopfenstein and others looks at the link between AP coursework and college success.

Our research finds no conclusive evidence that, for the average student, AP experience has a causal impact on early college success. Our findings support a clear distinction between courses that are “college preparatory” and those that are “college level.” The former type of course emphasizes the development of skills needed to succeed in college, such as note taking, study skills, and intellectual discipline; the latter type assumes that such skills are already in place. At-risk high school students particularly benefit from skills-based instruction, including “how to study, how to approach academic tasks, what criteria will be applied, and how to evaluate their own and others’ work,” where writing and revising are ongoing…. It is important to recognize that prediction and causality are not the same, and that the practice of placing extraordinary weight on AP participation in the college admissions process absent evidence of human capital gains from program participation distorts incentives. Our research finds that AP course-taking alone may be predictive of college success, a finding that is consistent with College Board research by Dodd et al. (2007) but casts doubt on the notion that AP participation imparts a positive causal impact on college performance for the typical student. …

This report seems to conclude that the reason AP students are successful is that they are highly motivated to succeed and achieve. Southern Economic Journal

For a good overview of why students take AP courses, see Grace Chen’s article, How AP Classes Benefit a Public School Student’s Future

AP courses tend to attract students who are preparing for college and are very goal oriented. So, what if a student either doesn’t want to go to college or may want a career, should they take AP courses? Since the average person, according to Career Information Online will have three to five careers over the course of a life time, the best advice to everyone is prepare for any eventuality. Even if students don’t attend college after high school, they may attend later as part of a career change. Many former automobile workers are now getting college degrees in nursing and other fields, for example. The College Board releases an annual report about the AP test. https://drwilda.com/2012/02/14/who-should-take-ap-classes/

Here is a portion of the College Board press release about The 9th Annual AP Report to the Nation:

Class of 2012 Advanced Placement® Results Announced

While Participation and Performance Increased Compared to the Class of 2011, Many High School Students with Potential for Success in College-Level AP® Courses Still Lack Access

02/20/2013

NEW YORK — Ensuring that all academically prepared high school students have access to rigorous college-level course work that will enable them to persist in and graduate from college is critical for the United States to remain competitive in a global economy — particularly in crucial STEM-related disciplines. Educators are increasingly adopting the rigorous standards found within the Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) to help the nation’s high school students develop the critical thinking, reasoning and communication skills that are essential for college success.

Data released today by the College Board as part of The 9th Annual AP Report to the Nation revealed that more high school graduates are participating — and succeeding — in college-level AP courses and exams than ever before. Succeeding in AP is defined as achieving a score of 3 or higher on the five-point AP Exam scale, which is the score needed for credit, advanced placement or both at the majority of colleges and universities.

By exposing students to college-level work while still in high school, Advanced Placement dramatically improves college completion rates,” said David Coleman, President of the College Board. “Today we applaud those educators who have worked tirelessly to bring the power of AP to more communities and more students than ever before. But we must not forget the hundreds of thousands of students with the potential to succeed in Advanced Placement who don’t even have access to its coursework.  If we hope to achieve our long-term college completion goals, we must ensure that every student has access to a rigorous education.”

Among the class of 2012:

  • The number of high school graduates taking AP Exams increased to 954,070, (32.4%), up from 904,794 (30.2%) among the class of 2011 and 471,404 (18.0%) in 2002 among the class of 2002.
  • The number of high school graduates scoring a 3 or higher increased to 573,472 (19.5%), up from 541,000 (18.1%) among the class of 2011 and 305,098 (11.6%) among the class of 2002.

Current research on AP course work confirms AP’s comparability to introductory college courses in content, skills and learning outcomes. Research consistently shows that students earning placement into advanced course work based on AP Exam scores perform as well as — or better than — students who have completed the introductory course at a college or university. In fact, students who succeed on an AP Exam during high school typically experience greater overall academic success in college, and are more likely than their non-AP peers to graduate from college and to graduate on time, experiencing lower college costs than the majority of American college students.

However, this is not the full story. Data from The 9th Annual AP Report to the Nation also indicate that hundreds of thousands of academically prepared students with the potential to succeed in AP — including a disproportionately large percentage of underserved minority students — are graduating from high school without having participated in AP.

A Right to Rigor: Fulfilling Student Potential

All students who are academically prepared for the intellectual demands of college-level AP course work during high school — no matter their location, background or socioeconomic status — have a right to fulfill that potential.

Among the class of 2012, more than 300,000 students identified as having a high likelihood of success in AP did not take any recommended AP Exam. Such “AP potential” is defined as a 60 percent or greater probability of scoring a 3 or higher on an AP Exam based on a student’s performance on specific sections of the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®). These data revealed significant inequities in AP participation along racial/ethnic lines, with underserved minority students who demonstrated readiness for AP much less likely than their similarly prepared white and Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander peers to experience AP course work.

Among the contributing factors, a significant cause for this disparity is the lower availability of a variety of AP courses in schools with higher numbers of low-income and traditionally underserved minority students….

Collaborating to Promote STEM Education

While the challenge to improve equity and access applies to all AP courses, its importance is amplified among the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines. Research shows that students who took college-level AP math or science exams during high school were more likely than non-AP students to earn degrees in physical science, engineering and life science disciplines — the fields leading to some of the careers essential for the nation’s future prosperity.

In the last decade, the number of students graduating from high school having taken an AP math or science exam has nearly doubled, from 250,465 in the class of 2002 to 497,924 in the class of 2012 (see Figure 8). However, among students with comparable levels of readiness for AP STEM course work, participation rates vary significantly by race/ethnicity and gender. Six in 10 Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander students with a 60 percent or higher likelihood of succeeding on an AP mathematics exam took the exam, compared to 4 in 10 white students, 3 in 10 black/African American students, 3 in 10 Hispanic/Latino students, and 2 in 10 American Indian/Alaska Native students. In most AP STEM subjects, female students participate at lower rates than male students….

In December 2012, the College Board announced the creation of the AP STEM Access program — made possible through a $5 million Global Impact Award from Google to DonorsChoose.org — to increase the number of traditionally underrepresented minority and female high school students who participate in AP STEM courses. Through this program, 800 public high schools across the country are being invited to start new AP math and science courses, with an emphasis on encouraging traditionally underrepresented minority and female students who demonstrate academic potential to enroll and explore these areas of study and related careers.

Supporting 3 Goals Critical to College Readiness

At its core, AP is a collaboration among college faculty and administrators, states, districts, schools, and teachers working together to provide academically ready students with the access to the rigor they deserve. The 9th Annual AP Report to the Nation shows that success stories exist and can be brought to scale. Three critical areas for addressing challenges to access are increasing rigor, promoting equity, and developing critical knowledge and skills.

1.      Increasing Rigor

In order for more students to succeed in college, they need preparation for and access to demanding college-level work while still in high school. Since 2002, there has been a 7.9 point increase in the percentage of U.S. public high school graduates scoring a 3 or higher on an AP Exam. Among the class of 2012, 19.5 percent of U.S. public high school graduates scored a 3 or higher on an AP Exam during high school, with 17 states exceeding the national average. Once again, Maryland led all other states in the percentage of its public high school graduates scoring a 3 or higher on an AP Exam.

Top 10 States in Percentage of 2012 Public High School Graduates Succeeding on AP Exam

  1. Maryland (29.6%)
  2. New York (28.0%)
  3. Massachusetts (27.9%)
  4. Florida (27.3%)
  5. Virginia (27.2%)
  6. Connecticut (26.9%)
  7. Maine (24.8%)
  8. California (24.7%)
  9. Colorado (24.2%)
  10. Vermont (22.8%)

2.      Promoting Equity

The AP Program is committed to increasing student diversity in AP classrooms, while simultaneously increasing AP success, to ensure that the demographics of both AP participation and success reflect the demographics of the overall student population. Though challenges remain, progress is being made to close equity gaps in AP participation and success among underserved minority and low-income students. Consider the following:

  • 30 states made progress over the past year in closing both AP participation and success gaps among black/African American students (see Figure 6a).
  • 17 states and the District of Columbia made progress over the past year in closing both AP participation and success gaps among Hispanic/Latino students (see Figure 6b).
  • Low-income graduates accounted for 26.6% of those who took at least one AP Exam in the class of 2012, compared to 11.5% of AP Exam takers in the class of 2003.
  • More than 250,000 low-income graduates in the class of 2012 took at least one AP Exam during high school, more than four times as many low-income graduates who took an AP Exam in the class of 2003.

3.      Developing Critical Knowledge and Skills

AP courses are designed by college and university faculty based on well-defined goals for student learning that give specially trained AP teachers a clear understanding of what students should know and be able to do by the end of the course. AP students develop their knowledge of key concepts and skills at the heart of comparable introductory college courses, including critical analysis and writing skills. Figures 8 and 9 of the report (pages 26–27) show the participation, success and score distributions among the class of 2012 across the three AP discipline groupings: math and science; English, history and social science; and arts and world languages.

AP Course and Exam Redesign

College faculty have played an integral role in the AP Program’s comprehensive course redesign to ensure that each Advanced Placement course and exam deepens the focus on critical thinking and reflects the most recent developments in each discipline. The involvement of university professors ensures that AP courses and exams are directly aligned with the same content and skills learned in introductory college courses.

With agreement among colleges and universities regarding the knowledge and skills that students need to cultivate through AP course work in order to qualify for credit and placement, the AP course redesign is enabling AP teachers and students time to explore key concepts in greater depth by reducing the amount of content coverage required….

The 9th Annual AP Report to the Nation is available at apreport.collegeboard.org.

Follow Trevor Packer on Twitter: @AP_Trevor

About the College Board

The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools. For further information, visit www.collegeboard.org.

Media Inquiries:
College Board Communications
212-713-8052/communications@collegeboard.org
 

https://press.collegeboard.org/releases/2013/class-2012-advanced-placement-results-announced

Jack Schneider has an interesting critique of the report at the Washington Post’s blog, The Answer Sheet.

In the article, What the AP program can’t do, Schneider opines:

To many in the world of education reform, the latest AP Report to the Nation—released recently by the College Board—is cause for celebration on two fronts. The first achievement has to do with equity.  During the program’s early history in the 1960s, Advanced Placement courses were generally populated by white students.  Even as recently as the mid-1990s, 80 percent of AP exams were taken by whites or Asians.  Today, however, roughly a third of students participating in the program are non-Asian students of color.  And that number is growing every year.

The second achievement has to do with teaching and learning.  By the twenty-first century, AP was being assailed by its critics for failing to evolve.  While college professors increasingly guided students through closer examinations of subjects with an orientation toward critical thinking and hands-on work, the AP Program continued to emphasize survey-style coverage and content memorization.  This latest report, however, details a course and exam redesign that brings AP back in line with “current practices in college instruction.”  And according to the College Board, changes in all subject areas will be substantial.

Both of these developments are the result of hard work, financial commitment (the Department of Education alone has spent a quarter of a billion dollars on its AP Incentive Program), and concerted efforts by all parties involved to promote the twin aims of equity and excellence.

The problem, however, is that AP can do very little to actually realize those aims….

Consider the effort to promote equity through AP.  For decades, reformers tried to use the program as a lever for giving under-served students a college admissions edge.  After all, in the last decades of the twentieth century, colleges and universities looked favorably on students with AP courses on their transcripts.  But most AP courses were taught at private and suburban schools.  Consequently, reformers sought to extend the AP Program, believing they could level the playing field by providing equal access to an elite brand.  Yet, as I have written elsewhere, the expansion of the AP Program failed to promote real parity between the educational haves and have-nots.  Because once the AP Program reached a critical mass, it lost its functionality as a mark of distinction.  Soon, scores of colleges and universities (Dartmouth being the latest) revised their policies around awarding credit for AP coursework or favoring it in admissions reviews.  And ultimately, elite suburban and private schools began to drop the program, calling it outdated, overly-restrictive, and too oriented toward multiple choice tests.  Thus, while students at Garfield High in East Los Angeles were for a short time doing the same work as students at Andover, the aim of equity proved a noble and elusive dream. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/03/09/what-the-ap-program-cant-do/

Moi wrote in The International Baccalaureate program and vocational students:

There is an “arms race” going on in American Education. More people are asking whether college is the right choice for many. The U.S. has de-emphasized high quality vocational and technical training in the rush to increase the number of students who proceed to college in pursuit of a B.A. Often a graduate degree  follows. The Harvard paper, Pathways to Prosperity argues for more high quality vocational and technical opportunities:

The implication of this work is that a focus on college readiness alone does not equip young people with all of

the skills and abilities they will need in the workplace, or to successfully complete the transition from adolescence

to adulthood. This was highlighted in a 2008 report published by Child Trends, which compared research on the competencies required for college readiness, workplace readiness and healthy youth development. The report found significant overlaps. High personal expectations, self-management, critical thinking, and academic achievement are viewed as highly important for success in all three areas. But the report also uncovered some striking differences. For instance: while career planning, previous work experience, decision making, listening skills, integrity, and creativity are all considered vital in the workplace, they hardly figure in college readiness.

http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news_events/features/2011/Pathways_to_Prosperity_Feb2011.pdf

There is a reluctance to promote vocational opportunities in the U.S. because the is a fear of tracking individuals into vocational training and denying certain groups access to a college education. The comprise could be a combination of both quality technical training with a solid academic foundation. Individuals may have a series of careers over the course of a career and a solid foundation which provides a degree of flexibility is desired for survival in the future. See, Why go to college? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/why-go-to-college/

https://drwilda.com/2011/11/29/the-international-baccalaureate-program-and-vocational-students/

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