The 21st century classroom: a teacher’s perspective, part 1

The following guest post was written by a friend and colleague who teaches at a large, selective New York City public high school. Over the last several years, her descriptions of the changes wrought by various new technologies, the imposition of Common Core, and an increasingly byzantine evaluation system that effectively punishes teachers for teaching, have provided me with an illuminating glimpse into some of the more alarming changes the public school system has recently undergone (and continues to undergo), and piqued my interest in...
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How the new SAT could affect the tutoring industry

In my last post, I took the College Board to task for its boast that its partnership with Khan Academy has led to a 19% decrease in the use of paid prep, presumably defined as classes or tutoring, although the College Board fails to specify. Aside from the questionable basis for that statistic (exactly how was it obtained? what were the characteristics of the groups surveyed? how were the demographic changes incurred by the adoption of the SAT as a state test taken into account?), I do think it’s...
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College Board logic

The following passage is excerpted from a recent College Board press release: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/one-year-since-launch-official-sat-practice-on-khan-academy-is-leveling-the-playing-field-for-students-300278934.html. A year ago today, Official SAT® Practice for the new SAT went live on KhanAcademy.org, making free, world-class, personalized online practice available for all students. There are now more than 1.4 million unique users on Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy — this represents four times the total population of students who use all commercial test prep classes in a year combined. Data show that the practice platform is reaching students across race, ethnicities, and income levels...
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Now the ACT is recycling tests too!

Students on College Confidential are again reporting that they received recycled exams, but this time for the ACT. The entirety of the June 2016 test was originally administered in February 2015. A colleague of mine has also confirmed that Form 72F was administered on both dates. Apparently, there was a recent five-year period during which the ACT consistently recycled tests, but then the practice was halted. Obviously, it’s now been revived. Granted this doesn’t quite match the College Board’s decision to repeat the same test only three months...
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Coming soon: The Complete Guide to ACT Reading, 2nd Edition

For those of you studying for the ACT this summer, the second edition of The Complete Guide to ACT Reading will soon be released. The new edition will reflect the recent changes to the ACT Reading test, and will include a complete chapter devoted to working with paired passages. While an exact publication date has not been set, the book should be available within the next month. In addition, I will updating the question indices in The Complete Guide to ACT English so that they correspond to the 2016-2017 version of...
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Former College Board executive blows the whistle about the new SAT

Manuel Alfaro, a former executive director at the College Board, has written a series of posts on LinkedIn detailing the myriad problems plaguing the development of the new exam.  According to Alfaro, not only were many of the items developed for the first administration of the test extraordinarily problematic (see below), but many of the items that appeared on the test were not actually reviewed by the Content Advisory Committee until after the test forms had been constructed. Committee members repeatedly attempted to call David Coleman’s...
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Is the College Board reusing new SATs already?

According to the chatter on College Confidential, some students are reporting that they received June SATs identical to their March tests. At this point, it’s also common knowledge that Asian test-prep companies have been distributing the March test. Inevitably, then, some lucky students will have prepped for the June exam using…the June exam. (As if barring adults  from non-released exams was ever going to prevent this sort of occurrence.)  This comes just as the College Board and Khan Academy announce that they have successfully leveled the playing...
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