While no test, including the SAT or ACT, is the “be all and end all” of a student’s high school career, scoring well on one of these tests is important for college bound students. Higher tests scores can make the difference between a student getting into the school of their choice, and settling for their second or third pick. In addition, higher test scores can open up opportunities for students to get access to important financial aid opportunities.
How Technology Can Help Test Prep
As educators, it’s important for school district administrators, school administrators and teachers to recognize opportunities to help high school students develop strength in key test taking skills and subject matter that will be covered on these tests. The importance of the SAT and ACT has been played up so much in our society that many students believe that the tests are mysterious and cannot be prepared for.
Many educators hold the same beliefs. In fact, the opposite is true. Most students never fulfill their potential to increase their standardized test scores, because the quality of their test prep is not effective or efficient.
Administrators and teachers have a responsibility to help prepare their students for the test for the following reasons:
- Students may not have access to high quality test material on their own, which means they may delay or avoid preparing for the tests.
Without external requirements, students may not choose to study for the test because of their busy schedules. It’s no secret that today’s students maintain busy schedules with extracurricular activities and homework requirements.
Studying for standardized tests can help students enhance their study of subjects. Although the SAT and ACT are not subject matter tests, per se, studying for either of these tests can help enhance a student’s capabilities in the classroom.
When test prep is a part of school curriculum, students get access to test prep programs, can find the time to effectively prepare and can take steps to improve their overall academic performance.
What Should School Look For In a Test Prep Solution?
The search for effective prep tools can be just as difficult as the test itself. There are many expensive and ultimately ineffective products in the marketplace that are geared toward capitalizing on the fears of naïve students and worried administrators.
As a result, schools districts often waste their precious budget dollars on tools and tasks that don’t lead to score improvement. Understanding what to look for in a test prep solution can help school districts narrow their choices and focus on finding a tool that will lead to score improvements.
An Effective Test Prep Solution Should Offer:
Opportunities to Integrate Online and Offline Learning
A 2009 study from the Department of Education discovered that students “who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.”2 The same benefits apply to SAT or ACT prep coursework. An effective course offers online elements to engage students and track their progress, as well as a component of live, in-person instruction (which can be provided by classroom teachers).
A Game Plan to Follow
There are several elements that go into a successful ACT or SAT score. Without knowing what to study and when, students can easily get overwhelmed. Teachers who are incorporating test prep into their classroom instruction can also be bogged down without a clear path to follow. An effective test prep program should give educators and test takes an easy to use guide to help keep the test prep process on track. Help keep the test prep process on track.
A one-size fits all approach to test prep is going to limit students’ abilities to hone in on their weakest areas and improve their capabilities Targeted assistance can help students use their precious study time to focus on what is most important to their personal performance.
Classroom-style prep courses work great for some people, but students who are heavily involved in extracurricular activities or those that have substantial homework loads can find it difficult to squeeze in a comprehensive course. Prep courses that are flexible and fit into the time that students have available to them are more likely to be used, and therefore are more likely to be effective.
Interested in learning more about how technology can help test prep?
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