Tag Archives: graphical literacy

The SAT and ACT have never been more alike than they are today, in that both exams challenge reading, writing, and problem solving skills in the same sort of standardized, mostly multiple-choice fashion. However, the two exams differ in both subtle and blatant ways, the most obvious of which is the ACT Science section. Like so many facets of these tests, ACT Science delivers very different challenges than expected. Sure, this section features passages drawn from topics in biology, chemistry, physics, and Earth and space science. However, the questions hardly test content knowledge at all. In fact, test takers don’t face any real disadvantage for not having taken these subjects. So if ACT Science doesn’t test science per se, what skills and strategies does this section really demand? READING SKILLS On our (awesome) Tests and the Rest podcast, Amy Seeley and I enjoyed a very insightful conversation with Michael Cerro…

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As the SAT and ACT continue to evolve, we see how certain competencies, like vocabulary, become less important as others increase in value. One of the major changes to the SAT serves to confirm what the ACT established long ago: graphical literacy matters. Graphical literacy simply describes the ability to read and, as needed, write or draw graphs and charts. Standardized exams like the SAT and ACT have traditionally tested graphical literacy through their math sections. However, the ACT has also long included a Science section, which more than anything tests the ability to read graphs, charts, and tables. The College Board may have been slow to recognize the importance of this competency but has clearly come around to the idea; the revised SAT and PSAT include graphical data representations on every section, even SAT Writing and Language! No one should be surprised that comprehension of informational graphics matters more…

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