Chariot Learning Blog

Success, both in tests and life, comes one small step at a time. Unfortunately, these increments of achievement can sometimes seem smaller than they really are, which leads us to overlook their impact. Evaluating ACT scores reminds us of how deceiving certain scores can be. Today, the ACT is taken by more students than the SAT. Yet, amazingly, people still don’t quite understand how to interpret ACT scores. The problem lies in that weird constricted range: SAT section scores span a full 600 points from 200-800 while ACT section and composite scores cover 36 meager scaled score points. Consequently, test takers can see hundreds of points of improvement from one SAT to another (with the right preparation, naturally), but ACT test takers must content themselves with 2 or 3-point score increases. Which one sounds more impressive? The SAT/ACT Bell Curve But the ACT scale deceives us, diminishing the accomplishment an…

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Even if you live in Western New York, you may not have noticed that Rochester residents ROCK Earth Day. This spring, Delta Laboratories organized a massive Greater Rochester Earth Day CleanUP that blended trash collection with data collection to teach students about water quality and pollution. Sounds fun, but was this event successful? Does a 61% increase in trash collection over last year sound good enough? According to the final tally, 2,658 volunteers across the area collected over 2,389 bags of trash and large debris from our environment. Way to go! Kudos to everyone who contributed and participated in this outstanding environmental event. This is the first year that Chariot Learning sponsored the Greater Rochester Earth Day CleanUP, but it definitely won’t be the last!

What a time of flux in the world of multiple choice math, reading, and grammar! Just months after the College Board announced drastic revisions to the world’s oldest college admissions mega-test, their surging competitor in Iowa City let’s us know that we’ll be seeing some new numbers on the ACT score report ACT, Inc. has long pegged scores in each section of the test to College Readiness Benchmarks, basically indicators of various levels of success in related entry-level college courses. Starting some unspecified time in 2015, the organization will provide additional readiness indicators to describe student performance and predicted readiness levels in various categories: STEM Score (overall performance on the science and math portions of the exam) English Language Arts Score (overall performance on the English, reading and writing portions of the exam) Progress Toward Career Readiness Indicator (a measure of progress toward career readiness) Text Complexity Progress Indicator (a…

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Have you ever experienced one or more of these symptoms? No spontaneous thought An intensified, fixed, internalized awareness An expansion of especially clear awareness into ambient space The disappearance of the bodily self A distinctive closing off of all sight and sound A deep, blissful serenity A marked slowing or cessation of respiration Don’t worry: you weren’t abducted by aliens (I hope).  Instead, you attained that elusive and magical state of flow that only comes from total absorption. Some associate this state with the deep internal absorption that comes from skilled meditation. Others refer to it as the Coder’s High. But you don’t need to live in Tibet or work in Silicon Valley to find this bliss. The flow state finds us when we are fully absorbed in accomplishing a complex and worthy task. Great works of art may be immersive but not truly absorbing unless we’re creating them. The flow state is…

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  What’s going down for the college-bound? Not much, unless you work at Starbucks and want to get an online degree… Starbucks Coffee Co. today announces an unusually large tuition reimbursement for employees. It’s in partnership with Arizona State University’s highly ranked online program. Starbucks employees who sign up for ASU’s online courses as freshmen or sophomores will get a partial scholarship plus need-based financial aid; entering juniors and seniors with previous college credits will be able to finish their degrees with the public university for free. (full article) And if you’re thinking of majoring in certain social sciences or humanities programs, just make sure you’re not in it for the money… Salary.com suggests that you should carefully consider the college degree you take, and factor in the potential return on investment (ROI). Research shows that some degrees are unlikely to lead to a well-paid job. The list ranks salary…

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Those of you who remember the old RIF commercials will probably chuckle at the reference, but the statement is as true today as it was back then: reading is fundamental. Strong reading and writing skills lie at the heart of the best grades, most impressive SAT & ACT scores, and most enduring professional success. Just because someone knows how to read doesn’t mean she reads well. Reading is a skill-based activity that improves with focused practice. That means that students should know how to read properly and then internalize the right strategies by reading challenging level-appropriate texts on a regular basis (NOTE: People magazine is never level-appropriate!) The benefits of exceptional reading skills are almost limitless, but include many obvious and highly desirable advantages: increased reading speed (which mean less time doing homework) improved comprehension (which means more knowledge as well as better grades and scores) advanced vocabulary (which means more…

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