The messaging that surrounds standardized testing (e.g., that it is both necessary and beneficial) bombards our students in school and on their social media accounts. Parents are told that these tests will accurately measure a student’s knowledge, encourage them to work diligently, and hold schools accountable. Critics that challenge these aspects argue that these exams do nothing short of forcing students to memorize information rather than truly learning and understanding the material. A study led by former Dean of Admissions for Bates College, Wiliam Hiss, recorded graduation rates of students who completed standardized tests versus those who did not and the results showed that only 0.5% of a GPA point distinguished the test-takers from non-test-takers. This study points to the possibility that perhaps standardized tests really are just preparing students to be good standardized test takers.
After college tours some students may show signs of disinterest in selecting the right school. Alternatively, some students may shown extreme interest in every college toured making it impossible to choose just one. Some students may like or dislike a college based on insignificant reasons such as the college tour guide or the campus cafe. All scenarios are likely to be frustrating for parents. Some tips to help parents in engaging their children with positive discussion regarding their college tours include the following:
1. Let your child have some time to digest the information versus bombarding them with questions as soon as you have returned.
2. Refrain from immediately offering your personal opinions and ask your child open-ended questions to get their honest perspective on the schools in question
3. Test out some possible options by making statements to your child regarding potential majors or career paths that certain schools specialize in.
4. Encourage your child to discuss options with their friends, or offer to organize a get-together for a fun night with friends, discussing toured colleges
5. If your child is not responding to the above mentioned then it would be a good idea to schedule an appointment with your child’s college counselor to discuss the tours.
6. Lastly, make sure to discuss items about the schools that your child did not like to help give them an even clearer picture of the positive and negative aspects of each school.
The newly designed SAT was administered to American students in March and according to Reuters, some of these students have been sharing the details of the test questions and answers via online platforms. The new SAT is set to be administered May 7th to overseas students and at this point it is impossible to know which students have had access to test questions in advance.
The ACT Kaplan Online Prep Live program will offer study resources and assessments from ACT, real questions from the ACT test, and live and on demand videos accessible via mobile or desktop. The program will also include a social community providing support as well as frequently asked questions and answers for students and teachers.
Word is out on the effects of the program, including average score improvements, student engagement, and overall performance. The ACT has yet to announce an update on the results of the program:
The nation’s new education secretary, John King Jr., plans to focus on the importance of a “well-rounded education” in a speech at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts on Thursday. With the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces No Child Left Behind, schools will have new flexibility with regard to their own accountability measures. This provides schools with an opportunity to broaden their focus and emphasize subjects such as social studies, the arts, and world languages. The Bush era’s No Child Left Behind Act placed heavy weight on more classical subjects such as reading and math, largely ignoring other subjects entirely. Critics have complained for years about the stringent emphasis standardized tests place on to math and reading, thus locking teachers into a box with little to no options for any other subject material. King’s hope is that the concept of a well-rounded education will be embraced by schools and educators so that American students will be well more versed in a variety of subjects. This will give schools an opportunity to define educational excellence in a much more comprehensive way, which will in turn broaden students’ horizons and lead to a more engaging education process.