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10 Important Facts about the New SAT!

via Education Dive




1. No more cramming?

One of the main ideas behind the redesign is to place more value on accumulated classroom study than last-minute cramming for the specific test. College Board President David Coleman says this is to emphasize “that the road to success is not last-minute tricks or cramming but the learning students do over years each day.”

2. Take that, test preppers

With the redesign, the College Board is hoping to make things more difficult for the for-profit test-preparation industry. New test-prep tutorials will be offered online for free. The College Board seems to be sensitive to criticisms that it unfairly favors rich families that can pay for expensive test prep courses and materials. In announcing the SAT changes, College Board President David Coleman said that the organization “cannot stand by while some test-prep providers intimidate parents at all levels of income into the belief that the only way they can secure their child’s success is to pay for costly test preparation and coaching.”

3. Source material will be pertinent

Students will have to analyze and use evidence from reading passages and informational graphics, edit certain texts, and write their analysis of source texts. The current test, for example, didn’t require students to cite evidence in the reading and writing sections. Source material will be pertinent to topics covered in history, social studies, and science classes.

4. Goodbye flash cards — eventually

The test will focus on relevant words — words that students use or will use in their everyday lives — instead of obscure words. The test will ask students to figure out the meaning of the words based on their context in reading passages.

In describing the change, the College Board references the ultimate pointlessness of studying for obscure-word vocabulary tests: “No longer will students use flashcards to memorize obscure words, only to forget them the minute they put their test pencils down.” But because the changes don’t go into effect for another two years, students will be using the flash card technique for another couple of years.

5. Math now focuses on “the heart of algebra”

For the new math section, more questions will be asked — 57, in 80 minutes — and calculators will be forbidden on one part of it. Also, more of the questions will be based on “the heart of algebra,” with a focus on linear equations and functions.

6. The good old 1600

The SAT’s maximum score will return to 1600 from 2400, and multiple-choice questions will have four possible answers instead of five. An additional score will be given for the essay section, which will be optional.

7. Guessing is encouraged

The new test also drops penalties for incorrect answers. Instead, test scores will be based only on the number of correct answers, which means test takers should guess even when they have no clue about the correct answer. According to, “guessing isn’t just advisable, it’s about to become strategically crucial for people seeking to maximize their performance.”

8. College application fee waivers for some

For each student who takes the SAT and meets certain income eligibility requirements, the College Board will provide four college application-fee waivers so students can apply to schools for free.

9. Critics aren’t satisfied

Even with the changes, critics say the SAT and other standardized tests are a poor predictor of college success. Colleges that require students to supply test scores to be considered for admission are needlessly eliminating qualified applicants, claim critics. Instead, according to a study released in February, high school GPA is a far more accurate predictor of success in college.

10. Is the SAT a dying breed anyway?

The so-called test-optional movement is gaining momentum. About 800 colleges and universities now admit a substantial number of students without SAT or ACT scores to undergrad programs, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing. The SAT launched in 1926, while its rival, the ACT, started in 1959. By 2012, the ACT had overtaken the SAT, as measured by the number of test takers.


US NEWS Top Ranking of Political Science Undergrad Programs

1. Harvard

2. Princeton

3. Stanford

4. University of Michigan Ann Arbor

5. Yale University

6.  University of California Berkeley

7. University of California San Diego

8. Duke

9.  MIT

10. University of California Los Angeles

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Canva is currently in beta. You will have to sign up and wait for an invitation.

Social Media and College Acceptance

via Education Dive

Attention all graduating seniors and parents:  Check out The New York Times: They Loved Your G.P.A. Then They Saw Your Tweets.

  • While less than a third of admissions officers say they check students’ social media, the practice is growing and many colleges do not have firm policies on it.
  • Admissions officials shared anecdotes about sometimes rejecting an applicant because of material found online.
  • A lawyer specializing in social media law says looking at posts online is dangerous because colleges might wrongly identify the account of a person with the same name as a prospective student.


Students have little to gain from having their postings publicly available. It’s hard to find a story of an admissions officer stumbling across something positive and throwing open the gates of the university to a student. The advice for sharing judiciously on social media goes for college faculty, too.  The first amendment rights can be liberally construed or not!

Common Core Needs Tailoring for Gifted Learners, Advocates Say

via Education Week

Common Core Needs Tailoring for Gifted Learners, Advocates Say

Gina Tampio sits for a photograph as her husband, Nick Tampio, plays soccer with their sons, Giuliano, 7, Luca, 5, and Nicola, 2, in their backyard in Mamaroneck, N.Y. Tampio says Giuliano, who is in 2nd grade and an advanced learner, has lost interest in school since common-core standards rolled out at his elementary school last year.

Gina Tampio sits for a photograph as her husband, Nick Tampio, plays soccer with their sons, Giuliano, 7, Luca, 5, and Nicola, 2, in their backyard in Mamaroneck, N.Y. Tampio says Giuliano, who is in 2nd grade and an advanced learner, has lost interest in school since common-core standards rolled out at his elementary school last year.
—Ramin Talaie for The Education Week

Still, educators may have to go deeper to meet the needs of such students

While many educators feel that the common-core standards fall more in line with the pedagogy of gifted education than previous states’ standards, the standards in and of themselves will not be sufficient to challenge a school’s most advanced learners, gifted education advocates say.

“Some students will be able to meet the standards faster than others, and the developers [of the common core] realized that one size does not fit all,” said Jane Clarenbach, the director of public education for the National Association for Gifted Children in Washington. “They specifically [said that] children with disabilities and advanced learners are going to need more.”

The bottom line, said Ms. Clarenbach: Differentiation continues to be necessary for gifted learners under the common core.

But some parents of gifted children as well as gifted education advocates worry that until teachers gain a strong understanding of the standards, advanced learners may not receive the supports and differentiation they need to stay engaged and challenged.

Jared B. Dupree, the secondary mathematics coordinator for the eastern region of the 664,000-student Los Angeles Unified School District, explained.

“In order to differentiate, you have to understand the standards and know what they entail. That’s ground zero,” he said. “I don’t see … a strong outlook for quality differentiation for the gifted population for years … maybe three or four years down the road.”

As part of his job, Mr. Dupree works with educators of gifted and talented students in nearly 180 Los Angeles schools to teach them how to implement the new common-core math standards.

In moving to the common core, Mr. Dupree said, some schools are also relying less on prepackaged textbooks and curricula, which can make the transition even more challenging for educators and curriculum writers.

That is also the case in the Autumn Creek Elementary School in the 5,500-student Yorkville district in Illinois. Ashley E. Badger, the gifted resource teacher there, said her team has been knee-deep in rewriting and aligning the school’s curriculum to the common-core standards for the past three years.

The school rolled out the math standards last year and is rolling out the English/language arts standards for the first time this year. Having teams of teachers, including gifted educators, rewrite the standards, and moving from a textbook to teacher-gathered curricula and resources, was intentional, said Ms. Badger.

“The administration felt that by teachers having to filter through the common-core standards and the new curriculum, they were getting more ownership over what they already had to teach,” she said. “It gave them a deeper understanding of what they needed their children to learn as well.”


Tufts will take the Universal College Ap



via Headcount

Tufts University will soon allow students to apply via the Universal College Application, the institution announced on Friday. The university previously accepted only the Common Application, which has experienced technical difficulties since introducing a new online system, in August.

Tufts is the second institution this month to join the Universal College Application. (Princeton University was the other.)

Problems with Common Ap cause colleges to push back deadlines


via the Washington Post  by Valerie Strauss

Problems with the new version of the online Common Application — which is accepted for college admissions by more than 500 colleges and universities — has prompted some schools to push back early decision deadlines, and others are waiting to see when the problems are resolved before deciding whether to do the same thing.

Panicked students and high school admissions counselors as well as college admissions offices have been complaining for weeks that many students have had problems getting onto the Common App site, including staying on the site, entering information, requesting teacher recommendations  and making payments.

For some time, essays that were entered into the Common App writing section showed no paragraph breaks because, according to a recent e-mail from Common App spokesman Rob Killion, “Paragraph breaks weren’t originally supported in our writing text box (Line breaks yes, paragraph breaks no).”  Students and counselors spent hours trying to find ways to get around it, but there was no way to do so until it was fixed.

This note was on the Common App Web site Tuesday morning:

We are aware that some users are experiencing problems with the PDF previews. We are investigating the cause and will report as soon as we have information to share. As frustrating as this problem is for those who encounter it, please know that it is not systemic and does not impact all users.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Georgia Tech are among the schools that have announced that the original Oct. 15 deadlines have been pushed back to Oct. 21 after weeks of troubles with the Common App Web site.  Other schools, such as Princeton University, gave students a different method of applying, such as using the Universal College Application, which is different than the Common App. The Universal College Application is accepted at about three dozen schools, but more may sign on now.

American Parents lag behind their Global Peers too!

Via Education Week Teacher


On Tuesday, results of a study called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies were released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), bringing to light not altogether surprising information: American adults–not just kids–lag behind their global peers in math, reading, and problem-skills. The study findings “reinforced just how large the gap is between the nation’s high- and low-skilled workers and how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven’t.” Adults with college-educated parents were far more likely to have gone to college themselves, and to have higher skills and better wages as a result. Unfortunately, these results belie the prevalence of the iconic first-generation college student, who defeats all odds and lifts him or herself to a better station than that of the previous generation.

Americans Strongly Support Experiential Learning

from a Northeastern University study released 10-8-2013


Amer­i­cans strongly sup­port expe­ri­en­tial learning in which a student’s class­room edu­ca­tion is inte­grated with pro­fes­sional work expe­ri­ence. Nearly nine in 10 Amer­i­cans (89 per­cent) believe that stu­dents with work expe­ri­ence related to their field of study are more suc­cessful employees—and nearly three in four hiring decision-​​makers (74 per­cent) agree. Among those that gained work expe­ri­ence during col­lege, a large majority (82 per­cent) says it was valu­able for their per­sonal and pro­fes­sional development.

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