Tag Archives: What Makes a Student College Ready?

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/

Soft skills are crucial for college and life success

23 May

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.aspxhttps://drwilda.com/2012/10/06/many-not-ready-for-higher-education/

Caralee J. Adams reports in the Education Week article, ‘Soft Skills’ Pushed as Part of College Readiness:

To make it in college, students need to be up for the academic rigor. But that’s not all. They also must be able to manage their own time, get along with roommates, and deal with setbacks. Resiliency and grit, along with the ability to communicate and advocate, are all crucial life skills. Yet, experts say, many teenagers lack them, and that’s hurting college-completion rates.
“Millennials have had helicopter parents who have protected them,” said Dan Jones, the president of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors and the director of counseling and psychological services at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. “They haven’t had the opportunity to struggle. When they come to college and bad things happen, they haven’t developed resiliency and self-soothing skills….”
“The expectations are not in alignment with reality,” said Harlan Cohen, the author of The Naked Roommate and 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into In College, published last year. “Students do not have the communication skills to navigate through adversity that is part of the normal transition to college….”
A holistic approach to college readiness that integrates academic content, college knowledge, and psychology may be what’s needed to help more students complete college, said Andrea Venezia, a project director at WestEd, a research organization based in San Francisco. Rather than compartmentalization of college-readiness efforts, she advocates early training that includes noncognitive strategies and habits of mind that give students internal strength to persist….http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/11/14/12softskills_ep.h32.html?tkn=WQRFgl%2Bkfw2CUbzDpa48iaX0xbRF0HCUXIpI&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

Soft skills are skills associated with “emotional intelligence.”

Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Melinda Smith, M.A. have written the excellent article, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) for HELPGUIDE.Org.

What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and diffuse conflict. Emotional intelligence impacts many different aspects of your daily life, such as the way you behave and the way you interact with others.
If you have a high emotional intelligence you are able to recognize your own emotional state and the emotional states of others and engage with people in a way that draws them to you. You can use this understanding of emotions to relate better to other people, form healthier relationships, achieve greater success at work, and lead a more fulfilling life.
Emotional intelligence consists of four attributes:
• Self-awareness – You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior, know your strengths and weaknesses, and have self-confidence.
• Self-management – You’re able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
• Social awareness – You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
• Relationship management – You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.
Why is emotional intelligence (EQ) so important?
As we know, it’s not the smartest people that are the most successful or the most fulfilled in life. You probably know people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially inept and unsuccessful at work or in their personal relationships. Intellectual intelligence or IQ isn’t enough on its own to be successful in life. IQ can help you get into college but it’s EQ that will help you manage the stress and emotions of sitting your final exams.
Emotional intelligence affects:
• Your performance at work. Emotional intelligence can help you navigate the social complexities of the workplace, lead and motivate others, and excel in your career. In fact, when it comes to gauging job candidates, many companies now view emotional intelligence as being as important as technical ability and require EQ testing before hiring.
• Your physical health. If you’re unable to manage your stress levels, it can lead to serious health problems. Uncontrolled stress can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. The first step to improving emotional intelligence is to learn how to relieve stress.
• Your mental health. Uncontrolled stress can also impact your mental health, making you vulnerable to anxiety and depression. If you are unable to understand and manage your emotions, you’ll also be open to mood swings, while an inability to form strong relationships can leave you feeling lonely and isolated.
• Your relationships. By understanding your emotions and how to control them, you’re better able to express how you feel and understand how others are feeling. This allows you to communicate more effectively and forge stronger relationships, both at work and in your personal life. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eq5_raising_emotional_intelligence.htm

Whether one calls success traits “emotional intelligence” or “soft skills” is really not important. The traits associated are those more likely to result in a successful outcome for the student.

Bradford Holmes of Varsity Tutors wrote in the U.S. News article, Hone the Top 5 Soft Skills Every College Student Needs about soft skills a college ready individual should possess:

1. Collaboration: It is imperative for college-bound students to function efficiently and appropriately in groups, collaborate on projects and accept constructive criticism when working with others. People who succeed only when working alone will struggle in college and beyond, as the majority of careers require collaboration.
Students can develop the skills necessary to effectively work with others in numerous ways, including participating in athletics and extracurricular activities. They can also opt to complete team-based projects such as service activities during their later years in high school.
2. Communication and interpersonal skills: A common complaint among employers is that young people do not know how to effectively carry on a conversation and are unable to do things like ask questions, listen actively and maintain eye contact.
The current prevalence of electronic devices has connected young individuals to one another, but many argue it has also lessened their ability to communicate face-to-face or via telephone. These skills will again be important not only in college, where students must engage with professors to gain references and recommendations for future endeavors, but beyond as well.
An inability to employ these skills effectively translates poorly in college and job interviews, for instance. High school students can improve these traits by conversing with their teachers in one-to-one settings. This is also excellent training for speaking with college professors. Obtaining an internship in a professional setting is also a wonderful method to enhance communication and interpersonal skills.
3. Problem-solving: Students will be faced with a number of unexpected challenges in life and receive little or no aid in overcoming them. They must be able to solve problems in creative ways and to determine solutions to issues with no prescribed formula.
Students who are accustomed to learned processes, and who cannot occasionally veer off-course, will struggle to handle unanticipated setbacks. Students can improve problem-solving abilities by enrolling in classes that use experiential learning rather than rote memorization. Students should also try new pursuits that place them in unfamiliar and even uncomfortable situations, such as debate club or Science Olympiad.
4. Time management: Whatever structure students may have had in high school to organize their work and complete assignments in a timely manner will be largely absent in college. It is imperative that they be fully self-sufficient in managing their time and prioritizing actions.
The ability to track multiple projects in an organized and efficient manner, as well as intelligently prioritize tasks, is also extremely important for students long after graduation.
Students can improve this skill by assuming responsibility in multiple areas during high school – nothing develops an ability to prioritize faster than necessity – or gaining professional employment experience through internships, volunteer work or other opportunities.
5. Leadership: While it is important to be able to function in a group, it is also important to demonstrate leadership skills when necessary. Both in college and within the workforce, the ability to assume the lead when the situation calls for it is a necessity for anyone who hopes to draw upon their knowledge and “hard” skills in a position of influence.
Companies wish to hire leaders, not followers. The best way for students to develop this skill as they prepare for college is to search for leadership opportunities in high school. This could mean, among other things, acting as captain of an athletic team, becoming involved in student government or leading an extracurricular group. http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-playbook/2014/05/12/hone-the-top-5-soft-skills-every-college-student-needs?src=usn_tw

Moi wrote in The ‘whole child’ approach to education: Many children do not have a positive education experience in the education system for a variety of reasons. Many educators are advocating for the “whole child” approach to increase the number of children who have a positive experience in the education process. https://drwilda.com/2012/02/10/the-whole-child-approach-to-education/

In order to ensure that ALL children have a basic education, we must take a comprehensive approach to learning.

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Resources:

Linking Social Development and Behavior to School Readiness http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-development/erickson/

Social and Emotional Learning
http://www.edutopia.org/social-emotional-learning

Related:
College readiness: What are ‘soft skills’ https://drwilda.com/2012/11/14/college-readiness-what-are-soft-skills/

Many NOT ready for higher education https://drwilda.com/2012/10/06/many-not-ready-for-higher-education/

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

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/

Lumina Foundation study: Many students fail to complete college with the six year study period

19 Dec

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.

The AP reported in the article, Study: 4 in 10 finish college where they start:

WASHINGTON — Fewer than half of all students who entered college in 2007 finished school where they started, and almost a third are no longer taking classes toward a degree anywhere, according to review released Monday.
The dire numbers underscore the challenges that colleges confront as they look to bring in more students and send them out into the world as graduates. The numbers also could complicate matters for students at schools with low graduation rates; the U.S. Department of Education’s still-emerging college rating system is considering linking colleges’ performances with federal financial aid.
Overall, 56 percent of those who started college in 2007 have finished their coursework on any campus, according to the research arm of the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization that works with colleges to verify students’ enrollment and graduation status.
About 29 percent of those who started college that year are no longer taking classes toward a degree. The researchers also found 43 percent of all students finished their degrees where they started. The number ranges from 67 percent of students who enrolled full time in 2007 to just 19 percent of those who enrolled part time.
Thirteen percent of students who entered college in 2007 finished their degrees at a different school from where they started.
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center worked with more than 3,500 schools to review almost 2.4 million records and track students as they transfer among schools.
“Conventional approaches fail to capture the complexity of student behavior because they look only at the starting institution where the student first enrolled,” said Doug Shapiro, the chief at the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
The new analysis indicates students who enter private four-year, not-for-profit schools are more likely to finish their degrees than those who pick public four-year or four-year, for-profit schools.
The research also indicates students who were 20 years old or younger when they started their degree in 2007 were more likely to finish their degree than were older classmates. Of those who were 25 or older when they began their studies, 44 percent did not earn a degree and are no longer enrolled in a program. Those older students, however, were a minority of all new students in 2007 by a 5-to-1 margin.
Among all students who started classwork in 2007, female students enjoyed a 7 percentage point advantage over men when it came to whether they had earned a degree in six years.
The numbers stand to complicate life for students and administrators at schools where many leave campus without a degree in hand. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has proposed linking tuition costs, graduation rates and other data to how much federal money each school receives…. http://nypost.com/2013/12/17/study-4-in-10-finish-college-where-they-start/

Here is the executive summary:

Executive Summary
This second annual report on national college completions rates continues to respond to the limitations of institution-based research by focusing on student-level data, tracking the completion of postsecondary certificates and degrees among first-time degree-seeking students who started their postsecondary education in fall 2007 and tracking their enrollments nationwide for six years, through the spring of 2013. The report also introduces an enhancement to the first Completions Report by including in the cohort students who entered college with prior experience in college-level courses through dual enrollment opportunities while still in high school.
The six-year outcomes examined in this report include completions at students’ starting institutions and transfer institutions, as well as persistence for those who had not earned a degree within six years. The report emphasizes students’ first completions throughout. For students whose first credential was awarded by a two-year institution, however, subsequent completions at four-year institutions are also reported. Six-year outcomes are presented by students’ gender, age, enrollment intensity, and the type of institution where first enrolled. This report expands on the two age groups reported previously by splitting the 24 and under age group into those older and younger than 20 years at the time of entry. We continue to present results for three categories of enrollment intensity: those enrolled exclusively full time throughout the study period, those enrolled exclusively part time, and those with a mix of full-time and part-time enrollments.
The tables and figures presented in this report explore the following:
Six-year outcomes for the fall 2007 cohort overall and broken out by enrollment intensity;
Six-year outcomes by student age at first entry overall and further broken out by enrollment intensity;
Six-year outcomes by type of starting institution overall;
Six-year outcomes by type of starting institution further broken out by age at first entry, enrollment intensity, and gender focusing on the students who started at four types of institutions specifically:
Four-year public institutions,
Two-year public colleges,
Four-year private nonprofit institutions, and
Four-year private for-profit institutions; and also
Certificate and degree completions that occurred at institutions other than students’ starting institution, broken out by location within the same state as the starting institution, outside the state, or at a multistate institution.
For comparison to the 2006 cohort, which was the focus of the 2012 report, this report includes selected results for the fall 2007 cohort excluding former dual enrollment students. A supplemental feature also explores follow-up seven-year outcomes for the fall 2006 cohort.
PRINCIPAL FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS
The patterns revealed in this study reflect both the complexity of students’ postsecondary pathways and the distinctive enrollment behaviors among students following non-traditional pathways. The results suggest that conventional approaches to understanding college effectiveness and student success, limited to students’ enrollment at the starting institution only, fail to fully capture national completion rates. It also demonstrates that, as students attend multiple institutions on the way to their first completion, each of these institutions is likely to have contributed, in its own way, to each student’s pursuit and achievement of their educational goals. The findings help point the way to policies that recognize and promote such student success while also crediting the institutions that contribute to it.
Figure A. Six-Year Outcomes by Enrollment Intensity (N=2,386,291)
Figure A. Six-Year Outcomes by Enrollment Intensity
*This figure is based on data shown in Appendix C, Table 7.
More than a half (56.1 percent) of first-time degree-seeking students who enrolled in fall 2007 completed a degree or certificate within six years, including 13.1 percent who completed at an institution other than their starting institution. Completion rates varied considerably depending on enrollment intensity (Figure A) ranging from about 22 percent for exclusively part-time students to 77.7 percent among exclusively full-time students. Six years is sufficient for most exclusively part time students to complete a two-year degree, of course, but not a four-year degree. Nonetheless, only 11 percent of the exclusively part-time students were still enrolled or persisting during the final year of the study.
Figure B. Six-Year Outcomes by Starting Institution Type
Figure B. Six-Year Outcomes by Starting Institution Type
*This figure is based on data shown in Appendix C, Table 14.
The total completion rates for students who started at each of the three largest institution categories ranged from 40 percent for students who started at two-year public institutions to 63 percent for those who started at four-year public institutions and 73 percent for students who started at four-year private nonprofit institutions (Figure B). The proportion of students completing elsewhere, however, was roughly the same for students who started at any of these three largest institution types – about 13 to 14 percent of the starting cohort.
Comprehensive Completion Rates Beyond the Starting Institution
Accounting for completions beyond the starting institution raises the overall six-year completion rate above the halfway point, from 43 percent to 56 percent. Nationwide, nearly one in four students who completed a degree or certificate (23.4 percent) did so at an institution different from where they first enrolled. That figure was slightly higher (24.7 percent) for traditional-age students and was one in three (33.6 percent) for students who started in public two-year institutions. Accounting for these mobile students increased the completion rate for every institution type and student subgroup we studied. The increases ranged from 3 percentage points for exclusively part-time students to 11 percentage points for exclusively full-time students and 16 percentage points for students who attended both full time and part time during the six years.
Completion Rates Across Age Groups
Figure C. Six-Year Outcomes by Age at First Entry (N=2,373,802)
Figure C. Six-Year Outcomes by Age at First Entry (N=2,373,802)NOTE: Student with gender data missing were excluded from the above figure. This figure is based on data shown in Appendix C, Table 9.
In this study we introduced a new age category, hypothesizing that the outcomes of students who delayed entry by just a few years after high school would be different from those of traditional-age students and adult learners. We found that the persistence and completion rates for this group were notably lower than those of students in the traditional-age group, more closely resembling instead those of adult learners who entered college after age 24.
Gains from completions at institutions other than the starting institution were greater for students age 20 or younger at first entry into college than they were for older students: 14.7 percentage points, compared to 8.4 and 6.8 percentage points for the delayed entry and adult learner groups, respectively (Figure C). This left a sizable gap between the overall six-year completion rates of traditional-age students and adult learners, with the latter having a much lower total completion rate (43.5 percent vs. 59.7 percent). The total completion rate was lower still (40.8 percent) for delayed entry students. Disaggregating results by both age and enrollment intensity showed that exclusively part-time students over age 24 actually had a higher completion rate than did part-time students in either of the two younger age groups, contrary to the trend for full-time and mixed enrollment students. An important takeaway from these findings is that institutions may want to consider differentiated approaches appropriate to students who delay entry as well as for traditional age students and adult learners.
Compared to those of younger students, the success rates of adult learners varied greatly depending on the type of institution they attended. Full-time students who started at four-year private for-profit institutions, for example, completed at their starting institution at a rate more than 17 percentage points higher than their traditional-age counterparts. This pattern was reversed, however, for adult learners who started at any other type of institution, where full-time adult learners completed at lower rates than traditional-age students. These findings suggest that adult learners may be engaged differently across institutional contexts. Institutions in each of these sectors may benefit from comparing the outcomes of their own students to those of national and sector benchmarks, and perhaps adjusting their strategies for supporting adult learners to address their particular patterns of success.
Six-Year Outcomes by Gender
This report introduces data on student gender to the Clearinghouse’s measurement of completion rates, providing a new tool for understanding trends in student success that was not available in our 2012 report. Overall six-year completion rates for the fall 2007 national cohort showed a gender gap of 6.7 percentage points in favor of women. However, when results were disaggregated by age at first entry the advantage to women was concentrated among traditional-age students, with relatively small to nonexistent gaps among older students. When examined across institution types, the advantage of women among traditional-age students remained consistent, but other patterns emerged among older students. For example, the six-year completion rate for women adult learners who started at four-year public institutions was slightly lower than that for their male counterparts.
Four-Year Completions for First-Time Students Who Started at Two-Year Public Institutions
For students who started at two-year public institutions we examined the overall completion rates as well as completions at four-year institutions, giving particular attention to whether they received their four-year degree with or without first earning a credential at a two-year institution. Overall, 17.1 percent of two-year starters completed a degree at a four-year institution by the end of the study period, and over half of these did so without first obtaining a two-year degree. These students transferred and graduated from a four-year institution without receiving any credential from their starting (or from any other) two-year institution. Traditional graduation rate measures that focus only on completions at the starting institution do not account for this type of outcome, even though it is a well-worn pathway receiving increasing attention in today’s resource-constrained policy environment.
Completion Rates for Dual Enrollment Students
As an enhancement to the first Completions Report, this report introduces a larger study cohort by including former dual enrollment students, first-time college students who had enrolled in college courses while still in high school. When these students were added to the cohort, the overall completion rate jumped from 54 percent to 56 percent. Analysis of the postsecondary outcomes of former dual enrollment students showed a completion rate of 66 percent for this group, 12 percentage points higher than the rate for students with no prior dual enrollment experience. This descriptive study cannot speak to the effectiveness of dual enrollment programs per se, since there are undoubtedly strong selection effects in the sample of students who participate in these programs for which the data in this report does not account. Nonetheless, the results show that including students with prior dual enrollments in the starting cohort clearly increases the observed national college completion rate.
Seven-Year Outcomes for Fall 2006 National Cohort
Finally, this report looks at seven-year outcomes for the fall 2006 cohort, tracking their enrollment patterns through spring 2013. Within seven years, 43.7 percent of this cohort completed at their starting institution, while an additional 14.4 percent completed at a different institution, for a total completion rate of 58.1 percent nationally – a 4 percentage point increase over the six-year rate reported in our 2012 report. The largest increase was among students with mixed enrollment, whose total completion rate increased by 5.6 percentage points with the additional year. The seventh year of tracking also captured a larger proportion of completions for mobile students, who can often take longer to finish degrees. Nearly one quarter (24.7 percent) of the completers had earned their first credential somewhere other than their starting institution, compared to 22.4 percent of the same cohort when measured at the six-year point. These results suggest that tracking students for a longer period better captures outcomes for non-traditional students, such as those with mixed enrollments and multiple institutions in their pathways to the degree.
Exploring college completions at the student level provides an alternate, more comprehensive view of student progress and success in U.S. postsecondary education that captures the complexity of students’ postsecondary pathways. Moving in this direction can facilitate a shift in public and institutional policies that acknowledges and responds to student pathways that include institutional mobility, part-time and mixed enrollment, a gender gap that varies by age, and entry into college at different ages and life circumstances. This kind of shift will, moreover, allow policymakers to measure and credit the contributions of institutions that serve students who transfer or who enroll part time.
As higher education policy increasingly focuses on measuring student outcomes, it is important to ensure that we capture the full range of student enrollment, persistence, and completion behaviors. The findings highlighted in this report show the value and power of using comprehensive national student-level data, such as used for this report.
http://nscresearchcenter.org/signaturereport6/

Citation:

Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates – Fall 2007 Cohort
This second annual report on national college completions rates continues to respond to the limitations of institution-based research by focusing on student-level data, tracking the completion of postsecondary certificates and degrees among first-time degree-seeking students who started their postsecondary education in fall 2007 and tracking their enrollments nationwide for six years, through the spring of 2013. The report also introduces an enhancement to the first Completions Report by including in the cohort students who entered college with prior experience in college-level courses through dual enrollment opportunities while still in high school.
AUTHORS
National Student Clearinghouse Research Center
• Doug Shapiro
• Afet Dundar
Project on Academic Success, Indiana University
• Mary Ziskin
• Xin Yuan
• Autumn Harrell
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors would like to thank Peter Ewell and Patrick Kelly, of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), for their thoughtful comments and suggestions; Robin LaSota, Post-Doctoral Research Associate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for her assistance with writing and editing sections of the report; Vijaya Sampath, Jason DeWitt, and Diana Gillum from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center for their work to make the Clearinghouse data analysis-ready and sharing their deep knowledge of the data with the authors; and the members of the Project on Academic Success team, Youngsik Hwang and Sarah Martin, for their efforts and thoughtful comments. Of course, any remaining errors or omissions are solely the responsibility of the authors.
SPONSOR
This report was supported by a grant from the Lumina Foundation. Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college — especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina’s goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change. For more information, log on to http://www.luminafoundation.org.

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:

Colleges rethinking who may need remedial education
https://drwilda.com/2012/10/24/colleges-rethinking-who-may-need-remedial-education/

Research: Summer bridge programs can help students succeed in college https://drwilda.com/2012/05/14/research-summer-bridge-programs-can-help-students-succeed-in-college/

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

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

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

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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

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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/