This blog post begins a multi-part series about the SAT and ACT, two standardizes tests still used by most colleges as one criterion when making admissions decisions.
Many parents and students wonder why these tests are still used during admissions decisions, and what these standardized test scores are good for. This blog post attempts to address these questions.
Although a student's scores are not the only criterion used in admissions decisions, college admissions departments use these scores for a variety of purposes. For example, admissions departments use them to compare how your grades and the rigor of the courses students have taken in high school (college prep, honors, advanced placement, IB) correlate with their SAT or ACT scores. Colleges might even use these scores as criteria for awarding scholarships. The most important reasons why these scores might matter from a student's point of view is that these scores are good predictors for how students will perform during their first year in college, assuming that they do the required work. The SAT and ACT assess a student's skill set in critical reading, writing, and problem solving, along with mathematical ability.
As adult learners, college students are required to complete the bulk of their classwork on their own; typically, they are responsible for learning 70-80% of the material independently. Therefore, it is vital that they possess the required critical reading, writing, and problem solving skills to learn their class material. Although professors hold office hours and colleges have support systems in place, the assumption is that students possess a prerequisite critical reading, writing, and problem solving skill set, and that they actively seek resources and supports to help them use (or learn) these skills to navigate their courses and complete their work.
For this reason, our SAT and ACT prep courses and tutoring do more than simply prepare our students for these tests. We also teach and reinforce reading, writing, and problem solving skills, so that our students will use these skills in all of their classes. We want our students to come back and tell us that their classes are a little bit easier and that their performance has improved. At IES, we understand that the tests are merely a vehicle and that while we will prepare our students to succeed on these tests, our most important goal is to build our students' skills so that they can enter college ready and with the necessary skill set to succeed.
In our next blog post, we will introduce you to the SAT and ACT exams, as well as provide an overview to how we approach helping our students prepare for success in these exams.
For more information about why or how these standardized tests are used, please refer to the articles below.
8 Things to Know About How Colleges Use Admission Tests
Why Test Scores Matter in College Admissions
About the Author:
John Marderosian is the founder, owner, and operator of Innovative Education Solutions. He has more than 15 years of experience improving student outcomes and closing achievement gaps, as well as increasing the capacity of teachers to accomplish the same with their students.