The ACT has recently made a somewhat under-reported change to its accommodation policies.
In the past, students with extra time who took the non-Writing version were given 5 hours to complete all four multiple-choice sections, whereas students who took the Writing version were given 6 hours for the four multiple-choice sections plus the Essay.
Although students could not move back and forth between sections, they could divide up the time in any way they wanted — so if they wanted to spend an extra 10 minutes on Reading, for example, they could potentially “borrow” that time from the less important Essay. For a slow reader with good comprehension, those 10 minutes could easily make a difference of two or three points.
Students not taking the Writing version could still divide their 5 hours as they wanted; however, they did not have the option of borrowing against the Essay, putting them at a potentially significant disadvantage. (more…)
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a colleague who teaches high school, and she told me about a recent incident that had left her thinking.
One of her students was enrolled in a dance class (in-school) that was holding an open house, and the student invited my colleague to attend. As my colleague watched the class, she became aware that the atmosphere was one of calm and focus. The students were disciplined and respectful, yet the teacher and students seemed relaxed, and the students were clearly enjoying the class.
My colleague was struck by the contrast between that atmosphere and the far more tense atmosphere of her own academic classes, in which she alternately had to plead with, threaten, and cajole students who consistently seemed surprised if not downright annoyed when she expected them to so much as pick up a pencil and copy a couple of sentences from the smart board.
How, she wondered, could this possibly be happening in the same school? (more…)
The College Board has announced that beginning January 1, 2017, students who receive accommodations in school will automatically receive equivalent accommodations for all College Board exams (PSAT, SAT, SAT II, AP).
According to the Washington Post:
Early this year, as more states began to adopt the SAT or the ACT as a required test for high school students to take, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division began to look into complaints that the testing organizations were too stingy with accommodations to eligible students, Education Week reported.
In a new statement, David Coleman, president and chief executive of the College Board, said: “Educators, students, and families have asked us to simplify our process, and we’ve listened. The school staff knows their students best, and we want to cut down on the time and paperwork needed to submit a testing accommodations request.” (more…)