Tag Archives: test scores

With so many critics screeching for an end to standardized exams, you’d think their primary objections centered around how anachronistic #2 pencils seem in a digital age or how debilitating the pressure of a high stakes test can be for parents. Sometimes, though, the real threat of testing lies in what truths the scores reveal. Even if you loathe the idea of college entrance exams playing a significant role in college admissions–even though you shouldn’t–you’ll want to consider the implications of ACT’s annual College Readiness Benchmarks report. College Readiness Benchmarks are the minimum scores in each section of the ACT associated with a 50% chance of earning a B or better and approximately a 75% chance of earning a C or better in the corresponding college course or courses: ACT English is associated with introductory English Composition classes. The ACT Benchmark for English is a scale score of 18, which…

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As long as humans have been aware of the passage of time, we’ve hated waiting. English poet Sarah Doudney tapped into this outrage in 1871 when she penned the verse, “But the waiting time, my brothers, is the hardest time of all.” American poet Tom Petty put his own inimitable spin on this sentiment in 1981. Waiting hurts, especially when you’re waiting for your test scores. In a sense, sitting for a high stakes standardized test like the SAT or ACT ends on a frustrating note. So much time and energy–and no small amount of anxiety–go into preparing (if you do it right) and taking the test. Once time is called on that last section, though, nothing else happens… for weeks. Every test taker goes home empty handed and the waiting game begins. So, how long should someone expect to wait for test scores to be announced? College Board does…

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As far back as the 15th century, the lovelorn and frivolous alike consulted the Daisy Oracle or effeuiller la marguerite in order to divine whether their affections were requited. Asking a flower whether she loves me or loves me not instead of questioning the lady in question herself may strike modern sensibilities as primitive or passive aggressive (note the petal pulling) but we’re not so different today. In the high stakes game of college admissions, some applicants and their families consult every oracle under the sun to pierce the veil of mystery and prognosticate the true desires of admissions professionals. Luckily, other more rational parties simply survey them šŸ˜‰ The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) conducts both an Admission Trends Survey and a Counseling Trends Survey every year to track various factors related to the transition from high school to postsecondary education in the U.S. along with information…

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No student should ever take a standardized test like the SAT without seeing it first. That simple but undeniable truth explains why the Official SAT Study Guide has been a perennial best seller in its many incarnations. The 2019-20 Edition (reminiscent of the classic 10 Real SATs book, delivers a whopping eight full-length practice tests, two of which were unavailable in previous editions. But is this book really worth buying? For one, all eight tests in the Official SAT Study Guide can be found–and downloaded–on the College Board website, along with a couple more. Purchasing the new book saves the trouble of printing tests, but offers little beyond that because of its second and more critical failing: the College Board has yet again published an incomplete Official SAT Study Guide. If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you probably remember the episode when Jerry uncovered a fatal flaw in a car rental…

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A test score is a score is a score, unless the score is being evaluated for college admissions purposes. We’ve never seen as much uncertainty around how SAT and ACT scores are used by colleges as we do today. Not only do many schools allow students to choose whether to send test scores at all, but the ones that do require or recommend scores have a surprising diversity of ways to evaluate those scores: highest single test, most recent test, average of all tests, superscore of just SAT or ACT, or superscore of both. Superscoring, if you haven’t yet heard of this marvelous policy, occurs when applicants are permitted to send scores from multiple test administrations to colleges, after which admissions staff will construct a new composite score derived from the best scores from each section across multiple tests. SAT Superscore = best Evidence-based Reading & Writing + best Math…

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Vince Lombardi, one of the most revered coaches in the history of sports, simply didn’t believe in perfection. According to Lombardi, “perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” Perfection in football–as I learn every year from my beloved Giants–may not be attainable, but perfection on standardized tests certainly is. Sure, perfect SAT & ACT scores are incredibly difficult to achieve, but more students than ever are achieving ACT perfection. How can a student earn a perfect test score? Probably not by accident. You may have heard legends of students who accidentally earned epic scores with no prior test exposure, but these tales inevitably describe academic prodigies whose lifetimes of intellectual exploration provided all the preparation necessary. The path to perfect scores resembles the ones that lead to gold medals and platinum albums: hard work, dedication, deliberate practice, and expert guidance. I’ve worked with many…

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