Friday, August 5, 2016

A Whole New Alphabet Soup of Testing

Did you feel that sudden shift beneath your feet recently? Did the ground shake in your Illinois household?

The state's move to begin offering high school juniors the SAT college entrance exam after many years of ACT control has added an extra layer of uncertainty for high schools.

Expect some degree of chaos in your school district as the learning curve develops. Thousands of Illinois teachers comfortable in guiding students to better ACT scores now find themselves in virgin territory.

One tutor notes, "The ACT tests reading, math, English and science. The SAT is more of an aptitude test. What are you capable of learning?"

Parents, don't believe for a minute that your child will achieve comparable percentile ranks. Just as there are "left-brain" people and "right-brain" thinkers, there are high performing ACT scorers who can stumble through the SAT--and vice-versa. 

Parents should consider having their student take both the standardized ACT and SAT tests so a comparison can be made on the best representative score results. If scores don't reflect your student's best realistic outcome, strongly consider working with a test-prep tutor who can strengthen weak areas. The goal is for a better score in a repeat test.

The winning College Board, which operates the SAT operation, said, "More Illinois students will benefit ... from an assessment that provides more information than ever before about a student's readiness."

A research company pegged the spending in the American test prep industry around $4.3 billion in 2015. Is your student prepared for her/his all-important SAT?

- Mike Ryan