Mackler Associates Recommends Highschool Juniors to See ACT Prep
With interest in the SAT and ACT skyrocketing, I begin to wonder, is there a way that curriculum could adapt to accommodate the increasing demand? I began brainstorming ways that education could adapt to a rapidly changing world, and the answer is yes!
One of the first ways education could adapt to a rapidly changing world is by changing how we approach curriculum. College leaders have drastically changed their approach to curriculums and how they are delivered, and even some colleges offer credit for learning outside of the classroom, or have completely shifted how they approach learning. This shows that changing how we learn isn’t driven by our fears, fears about how the world will change, or demands from potential employers, but the evidence suggests that we as people are decently adaptable.
Another way is to employ Gen Z’s natural curiosity. Individuals in my research found that the more curious they are, the more likely they were to pursue a college major they found interesting, or who offered them the most fulfillment. The Human Factors Department at Edx found that curiosity leads to a greater understanding of likes and dislikes, facilitating the exploration and assessment needed for learning.
Another example is self-directed learning. Our desire for autonomy is a human universal, something that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) students certainly don’t lack. The Edx experiment found that self-directed learning leads to greater satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and greater interest in the subject. They even found a correlation between the classroom setting and self-directed learning.
Yet another way to better accommodate the changing world is to allow more flexibility in how students learn. One of the most anticipated titles for this generation of consoles is called Kiva. This popular 3DS game allows students to share their notes and experiences with other students. The Human Factors and Education Department at Edx found that the game increased students’ self-esteem and helped them improve their independence, as well as their sense of belonging.
With this small addition to my list of ideas for how we adapt to a rapidly changing world, all I have left is a few requests for all dedicated educators to try. Please remember that we as educators are humans with limited resources, so make sure to budget appropriately and do everything you can to handle demand for your institution, but also by all means seek opportunities to engage these ideas with your students.
This was something they had been considering for several years, hoping the Trump Administration would let the programs operate normally (without presumptive military service) or give them something to aid reconstruction efforts.
The pandemic has proven that time is of the essence, and we now wait to see if the restoration of the federal deferral program will help relieve the pressure on test centers and colleges, or will help schools discern the right plans for preserving some amount of testing equity? Thankfully, we do have some hope for additional resources for colleges, from last year’s stimulus bill to more state-level FlexPay leveraging and support for those participating in state-supported activities.
EDITOR’S NOTE: ACT and SAT have always been flexible admission partnerships with numerous programs throughout the year, so this story is not a “win” for or against any one particular program. However, we can expect to see more flexibility as we enter 2021. Early indications point to continued state support for programs that follow the same principles, while other matching and flexing of partnerships would be good for everyone.
In February, the College Board announced that it would pay the Washington State University deferred exam fee for students who take the ACT and SAT in Washington later this year. It was one of a number of pockets of deferral support that states, colleges, and universities had been considering, and we congratulate the College Board (and Washington State University) on this progress on behalf of students, families, and college access. In doing so, Washington joins five other states (Delaware, Kansas, Minnesota, Puerto Rico, and Utah) that have all offered deferred fees to students, as well as students in 22 states and the District of Columbia.
Washington’s action came shortly after 10th grade, which means Washington State University’s deferral may not have offered testing equity in the surrounding high schools, but we can assume that the benefit will be felt by students elsewhere.
Like many colleges and universities, Washington State University had been exploring deferral options going back several years. Still, this is the first year in which the university is putting these efforts on the table, and it signals a new willingness to think beyond the traditional model of partnerships between a test prep organization and college. Despite the barriers that stand in the way of equity for low-income students and students of color, colleges and universities have been optimistic about the new business model: offering students the flexibility to take the tests knowing full well that the money will be used to subsidize college costs or to build a business.
Still, for those who did have that option, it is possible to enroll.
Personally, I was not admitted to any tests, but I did manage to get admitted to the ACT, and this post and subsequent posts will explain the details behind the process. If you’re interested in reviewing some of my previous posts on the topic, you can click here.
The ACT is the country’s oldest and one of the best-known standardized tests in the world. It is not a traditionally competitive exam like the SAT or ACT-GPA, but it does provide a good reflection of four years’ worth of learning. That said, doing well on the ACT is not enough to get into any top tier college in the United States.
This year, more than ever, colleges brought on workers to help them find test centers open and willing to accept both the ACT and the redesigned SAT, and these centers flooded the market. To help people stay safe while taking the tests, some colleges have compiled lists of phone numbers and addresses of centers that accept both the ACT and the redesigned SAT so that students can call if they do not know where to enroll, and vice versa. Otherwise, there is little help the students can do at their own discretion or need ACT/SAT prep.
At this time last year, I was a prospective student unsure of all things college. It was this uncertainty that pushed me to take the ACT in the first place. Landed near the bottom of my high school class, I knew that skipping my senior year to enter college would not be easy and got accepted into two universities this past fall where I thrived.
Looking back, I realize that the floppy ranking on the ACT allowed me to skip one SAT all-important component, the writing part. Undergraduating just over a year ago did not allow for a strong writing foundation. I think this is something that is easily fixable by colleges with writing programs, and the fact that I could skip the writing portion of the ACT allowed me to not consider myself a “failure” that released students from the unrealistic ranking of 50% on the ACT.
In short, the ACT is not always a reliable indicator of success, even for those admitted to top tier colleges. However, it’s still a lot better than doing poorly on the SAT or ACT. If you are a prospective student and worry that you might be doing poorly on the ACT, this post is for you.
The remaining issue is the waiting list to take the tests or require tutoring St. Louis.
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