Tag Archives: SAT

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:
COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

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/

 

 

 

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/

 

 

College Board to redesign SAT test

3 Mar

Moi wrote in College readiness: What are ‘soft skills’:

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.

Valerie Strauss reports in the Washington Post article, SAT exam to be redesigned:

The College Board, the nonprofit organization that owns the SAT, late last year appointed a new president, David Coleman, who was a co-writer of the Common Core State Standards. In a recent speech at the Brookings Institution, Coleman said he has a number of problems with the SAT as now written, including with its essay and vocabulary words. (You can read about that here.)

College Board Vice President Peter Kauffmann said the following e-mail was sent to all members of the College Board:

In the months ahead, the College Board will begin an effort in collaboration with its membership to redesign the SAT® so that it better meets the needs of students, schools, and colleges at all levels. We will develop an assessment that mirrors the work that students will do in college so that they will practice the work they need to do to complete college. An improved SAT will strongly focus on the core knowledge and skills that evidence shows are most important to prepare students for the rigors of college and career. This is an ambitious endeavor, and one that will only succeed with the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the strong coordination of our councils and committees, and the full engagement of our membership.

First administered in 1926, the SAT was created to democratize access to higher education for all students. Today the SAT serves as both a measure of students’ college and career readiness and a predictor of college outcomes. In its current form, the SAT is aligned to the Common Core as well as or better than any assessment that has been developed for college admission and placement, and serves as a valuable tool for educators and policymakers. While the SAT is the best standardized measure of college and career readiness currently available, the College Board has a responsibility to the millions of students we serve each year to ensure that our programs are continuously evaluated and enhanced, and most importantly respond to the emerging needs of those we serve.

As we begin the redesign process, there are three broad objectives that will drive our work:

Increase the value of the SAT to students by focusing on a core set of knowledge and skills that are essential to college and career success; reinforcing the practice of enriching and valuable schoolwork; fostering greater opportunities for students to make successful transitions into postsecondary education; and ensuring equity and fairness.

Increase the value of the SAT to higher education professionals by ensuring that the SAT meets the evolving needs of admission officers, faculty, and other administrators, and that the SAT remains a valid and reliable predictor of college success.

Increase the value of the SAT to K–12 educators, administrators and counselors by strengthening the alignment of the SAT to college and career readiness; ensuring that the content reflects excellence in classroom instruction; and developing companion tools that allow educators to use SAT results to improve curriculum and instruction.Bob Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the misuse of standardized tests, said this about the redesign:

The College Board’s announcement that it plans to revise its flagship exam, less than eight years after the previous “major overhaul” of the test was first administered, is an admission that  the highly touted “new SAT” introduced in 2005 was a failure. The latest version of the test is, in fact, no better than its predecessor in predicting academic success in higher education or in creating a level playing field to assess an increasingly diverse student body. The only significant changes were that it was longer and cost test-takers more. As a result, more than 80 additional institutions have adopted test-optional or test flexible policies (attached), and the ACT overtook the SAT as the nation’s most popular exam for colleges which still require a test. Those developments left the new College Board leadership with no choice but to try to “reformulate” its product in an effort to maintain market share and relevance. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/02/26/sat-exam-to-be-redesigned/

See, College Board Announces Sweeping SAT Redesign http://www.educationnews.org/higher-education/college-board-announces-sweeping-sat-redesign/

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.”

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/

The importance of the National Assessment of Educational Progress

12 Sep

Moi wrote in What, if anything, do education tests mean?

Moi received a review copy from Princeton University Press of Howard Wainer’s Uneducated Guesses. The publication date was September 14, 2011. In the preface Wainer states the goal of the book, “It deals with education in general and the use of tests and test scores in support of educational goals in particular.” Wainer tries to avoid not only the policy, but the ethical analysis of the analysis of the improper use of tests and test results by tightly defining the objective of the book at page four. The policy implications of using tests and test results to not only decide the direction of education, but to decide what happens to the participants in education are huge. Moi wonders if Wainer was really trying to avoid the unavoidable?

For moi, the real meat of the book comes in chapter 4. Wainer says:

In chapter 3 we learned that the PSAT, the shorter and easier version of the SAT, can be used effectively as one part of the selection decision for scholarships. In this chapter we expand on this discussion to illustrate that the PSAT also provides evidence that can help us allocate scarce educational resources…. [Emphasis Added]

Wainer examines the connection by analyzing and comparing test results from three high school districts. Those schools are Garfield High School in L.A., the site of the movie “Stand and Deliver.” La Canada High School in an upscale L.A. Suburb and Detroit, a very poor inner city school district. The really scary policy implication of Wainer’s very thorough analysis is found at page 44, “Limited resources mean that choices must be made.” Table 4-4 illustrates that real life choices are being made by districts like Detroit. What is really scary is that these choices affect the lives of real human beings. Of course, Wainer is simply the messenger and can’t be faulted for his analysis. According to Wainer, it is very tricky to use test results in predicting school performance and his discussion at page 53 summarizes his conclusions.

Perhaps the most chilling part of Wainer’s book is chapter 8 which deals with how testing and test results can adversely impact the career of a teacher when so-called “experts” incorrectly analyze test data. It should be required reading for those who want to evaluate teacher performance based upon test results.

Overall, Uneducated Guesses is a good, solid, and surprisingly readable book about test design, test results, and the use of test results. The truly scary part of the book describes how the uninformed, unknowing, and possibly venal can use what they perceive to be the correct interpretation to make policy judgments which result in horrific societal consequences.

Wainer makes statistics as readable as possible, because really folks, it is still statistics.

Here is the full citation for the book:

Uneducated Guesses: Using Evidence to Uncover Misguided Education Policies

Howard Wainer

Cloth: $24.95 ISBN: 9780691149288

200pp.

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

Many do not know about the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Here is a description of the test:

NAEP Overview

http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/about/

Here are some FAQs:

Frequently Asked Questions

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a program with many components—from developing subject-area questions, to selecting schools to participate, to reporting the results. Given its complexity, NAEP receives a variety of questions from visitors to the website; these special pages have been developed to provide answers to some of the most common questions.

If you can’t find the answer to your question on any of our FAQ pages, please click Contact NAEP on the left.

General Questions 

What is NAEP?

NAEP, or the National Assessment of Educational Progress, produces the Nation’s Report Card, to inform the public about the academic achievement of elementary and secondary students in the United States. Sponsored by the department of Education, NAEP assessments have been conducted periodically in reading, mathematics, science, writing, U.S. history, civics, geography, and other subjects, beginning in 1969. NAEP collects and reports academic achievement at the national level, and for certain assessments, at the state and district levels. The results are widely reported by the national and local media, and are an integral part of our nation’s evaluation of the condition and progress of education.

For more general information about NAEP, read the NAEP Overview.
For technical information about NAEP, consult the NAEP Technical Documentation.

What is the difference between state NAEP and national NAEP?

The NAEP sample in each state is designed to be representative of the students in that state. At the state level, results are currently reported for public school students only and are broken down by several demographic groupings of students. When NAEP is conducted at the state level (i.e., in mathematics, reading, science, and writing), results are also reported for the nation. The national NAEP sample is then composed of all the state samples of public school students, as well as a national sample of nonpublic school students. If there are states that do not participate, a certain number of schools and students are selected to complete the national-level sample.

For assessments conducted at the national level only, samples are designed to be representative of the nation as a whole. Data are reported for public and nonpublic school students as well as for several major demographic groups of students.

Read technical information about the differences in the sample selection for state and national assessments in NAEP Assessment Sample Design

What are the goals of the NAEP program?

NAEP has two major goals: to compare student achievement in states and other jurisdictions and to track changes in achievement of fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-graders over time in mathematics, reading, writing, science, and other content domains. To meet these dual goals, NAEP selects nationally representative samples of students who participate in either the main NAEP assessments or the long-term trend NAEP assessments.

For technical aspects of reporting student achievement, see Analysis and Scaling for NAEP.

Is participation in NAEP voluntary?

Federal law specifies that NAEP is voluntary for every student, school, school district, and state. However, federal law also requires all states that receive Title I funds to participate in NAEP reading and mathematics assessments at fourth and eighth grades. Similarly, school districts that receive Title I funds and are selected for the NAEP sample are also required to participate in NAEP reading and mathematics assessments at fourth and eighth grades. All other NAEP assessments are voluntary. Learn more about NAEP and why participation is important.

Are the data confidential?

Federal law dictates complete privacy for all test takers and their families. Under the National Assessment of Educational Progress Authorization Act (Public Law 107-279 III, section 303), the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is charged with ensuring that NAEP tests do not question test-takers about personal or family beliefs or make information about their personal identity publicly available.

After publishing NAEP reports, NCES makes data available to researchers but withholds students’ names and other identifying information. The names of all participating students are not allowed to leave the schools after NAEP assessments are administered. Because it might be possible to deduce from data the identities of some NAEP schools, researchers must promise, under penalty of fines and jail terms, to keep these identities confidential.

For technical details, read about Questionnaires and Tracking Forms and Non-Cognitive Items in Student Booklets.

Who are the students assessed by NAEP?

The national results are based on a representative sample of students in public schools, private schools, Bureau of Indian Education schools, and Department of Defense schools. Private schools include Catholic, Conservative Christian, Lutheran, and other private schools. The state results are based on public school students only. The main NAEP assessment is usually administered at grades 4 and 8 (at the state level) plus grade 12 at the national level. The long-term trend assessments report national results (in mathematics and reading only) for age samples 9, 13, and 17 in public and nonpublic schools.

For technical details, read about the NAEP Assessment Sample Design.

Who evaluates NAEP?

Because NAEP findings have an impact on the public’s understanding of student academic achievement, precautions are taken to ensure the reliability of these findings. In its current legislation, as in previous legislative mandates, Congress has called for an ongoing evaluation of the assessment as a whole. In response to these legislative mandates, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has established various panels of technical experts to study NAEP, and panels are formed periodically by NCES or external organizations, such as the National Academy of Sciences, to conduct evaluations. The Buros Center for Testing, in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts/Center for Educational Assessment and the University of Georgia, more recently conducted an external evaluation of NAEP.

For technical aspects of reporting student achievement, see Analysis and Scaling for NAEP.

How do I know what publications are available from NAEP and how do I get them?

The NAEP Publications page is accessible via the Publications link at the top of every screen.

Printed copies of NAEP publications can be ordered by contacting:
http://edpubs.ed.gov
Phone: (877) 4-ED-PUBS (433-7827)
TDD/TTY: (877) 576-7734
Mail: Ed Pubs, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 22304
Para español, llame al (877) 433-7827

It is important to understand what the NEAP is because there are attempts to use the test as a predictive tool.

Sarah D. Sparks reports in the Education Week article, Can NAEP Predict College Readiness?

College Indicators

For college, at least, there are signs NAEP performance may be linked to how well a student will do in initial coursework. Researchers from WestEd, a San Francisco-based research group working under contract to the governing board, found that the 12th grade reading and math tests cover content very similar to that of the SAT.

Moreover, a 2009 study of more than 15,000 12th graders who took both the national assessment and the SAT showed that performing at the proficient level on the math NAEP was associatedRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader with an 80 percent chance of earning 500 points out of a possible 800 on the math portion of the SAT, and that the proficient level in reading was associated with a 50-50 chance of scoring 500 on the SAT verbal test.

The SAT has internally pegged a score of 500 to earning at least a B-minus in freshman-level college courses.

NAEP 12th grade content less closely mirrored that used in the ACT, the nation’s other major college-entrance exam; in particular, some arithmetic and applied-math items on the ACT would be covered in more depth on the 8th grade than the 12th grade NAEP in math. NAEP has not been able to compare its performance levels to those in the ACT, though Ms. Orr said the board plans to do so during the 2013 studies, which will also include more state-specific analyses.

Individual states’ data are likely to be critical, North Carolina’s Mr. Fabrizio said, because course requirements vary widely from state to state and even between college systems within the same state.

Hazy Work Picture

The connection between NAEP and preparation for careers that don’t require a four-year college degree is much more tenuous.

The governing board found less overlap between NAEP 12th grade content and that covered on the career-related WorkKeys test, also by ACT Inc. Last spring, panels of professional trainers in five careers—computer-support specialists, automotive master technicians, licensed practical nurses, pharmacy staff, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technicians—could not agreeRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader on what proficiency level on NAEP would indicate a student was ready for his or her field.

They did agree, however, that most of the content on the test wouldn’t say much about students’ potential in those fields.

For example, “there are hardly any test items in the pool at 12th grade that are applied, based on some use of mathematics rather than theoretical stuff,” said Jeremy Kilpatrick, a co-author of the studyRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader and a mathematics education professor at the University of Georgia in Athens. “Where there were such items, the career and technical people were really happy to see that—but most times they looked at the questions and said, ‘This is not relevant to what we want.'”

The assessment governing board will try to bring more clarity around job skills next year, with an analysis that compares the skills and knowledge covered in job-training programs in the five career areas with the math and reading content in the 12th grade NAEP tests.

Still, Ms. Orr was less hopeful about whether NAEP will be useful for gauging career readiness. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/09/12/03nagb.h32.html?tkn=WYYFs6Fvb3qWQ7tlD%2B4kB4B80di2bmJy6Rje&intc=es

Moi wrote about testing in More are questioning the value of one-size-fits-all testing:

The goal of education is of course, the educate students. Purdue University has a concise synopsis of Bloom’s Taxonomy which one attempt at describing education objectives:

Bloom’s (1956) Taxonomy of Educational Objectives is the most renowned description of the levels of cognitive performance. The levels of the Taxonomy and examples of activities at each level are given in Table 3.3. The levels of this taxonomy are considered to be hierarchical. That is, learners must master lower level objectives first before they can build on them to reach higher level objectives. http://education.calumet.purdue.edu/vockell/edPsybook/Edpsy3/edpsy3_bloom.htm

See, Bloom’s Taxonomy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom%27s_Taxonomy More and more people are asking if testing really advances the goals of education or directs testing’s objectives, which may or may not be the same as the goals of education. https://drwilda.com/2012/02/20/more-are-questioning-the-value-of-one-size-fits-all-testing/

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/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©