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Nkozi Stewart

on 13 June 2013

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by Justin Zemser, Nkozi Stewart & Mr. Leone
Channel View School for Research SAT/ACT Enrichment Expedition
SAT/ACT Enrichment
Before we develop plans specifically geared for the SAT/ACT exam itself, we must first highlight the general causes of our examination woes
What Exactly is the SAT?
Separated into ten sections, this standardized test is comprised of three topics: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing.
Critical Reading
Created by The College Board, the SAT is a standardized entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. The idea (in theory, at least) is to provide colleges with one common criterion that can be used to compare all applicants.
All critical reading questions are multiple-choice, including short and long passage based questions and sentence completion questions

Each student receives...
Two twenty-five minute sections, consisting of twenty-four questions each
One twenty minute section, consisting of nineteen questions
In addition to a majority of multiple choice questions based on algebra and geometry, the mathematics portion includes student-produced response questions, also known as short response questions

Each student receives...
One twenty-five minute section, consisting of twenty multiple choice questions

One twenty-five minute section, consisting of ten multiple choice questions and eight short response questions

One twenty minute section, consisting of sixteen multiple choice questions
Writing questions have two formats: a direct measure in the form of an essay, and multiple-choice questions that involve improving sentences, identifying sentence errors, and improving paragraphs

Each student receives...
One twenty-five minute essay section

One twenty-five minute section, consisting of thirty-five multiple choice questions

One ten minute section, consisting of fourteen multiple choice questions
The Experimental Section
As you may have noticed, our three topics have only provided us with 9 sections total. The tenth section is inserted by The College Board test-makers as one variable (unscored) section that may test critical reading, mathematics, or writing (25 minutes total). This section is where new questions are sampled to make sure future exams are fair for students of different backgrounds. It also helps make sure that scores of students taking future exams can be compared to scores of students who took earlier versions of the test.
* While the essay section is the first section of every SAT, the following nine sections are in random order, unknown to test-takers
All in all, students are given 3 hours and 45 minutes to answer 170 total questions. The SAT is a test of endurance!
Now How Is It Scored?
Essay Portion
Our SAT version of a critical lens essay is scored by two readers, each of which who grades the written piece on a scale from 1-6. The two scores are then combined for a final grade from 2-12.
A raw score is calculated for each section based on the number of questions the test-taker gets correct, incorrect, or omits
1 point for every correct answer

1/4 deducted point for every incorrect multiple choice answer

0 points for any questions omitted
One exception: the test-taker does not lose points for an incorrect answer on the math short response questions
What is the
Posing as the SAT's little cousin, the ACT, or American College Testing, is another standardized college entrance examination. Made up of four multiple-choice tests in the areas of Mathematics, Reading, English, and Science, this exam is another hefty load for test-takers.
In contrast to the SAT, the ACT is divided into only four sections so that the test-taker answers all of the questions for each topic in a single time frame
Students are given sixty minutes to answer a variety of sixty algebra, geometry, and trigonometry questions
Students must complete forty reading comprehension questions in thirty-five minutes
In forty-five minutes, students must answer seventy-five questions based on usage/mechanics and rhetorical skills
Optional Essay
Students have the option to tack on an extra thirty minute essay section to their writing test, an add-on that most colleges prefer
Student's receive thirty-five minutes to answer forty questions based on scientific reasoning skills in biology and earth science
Totaling 3 hours and 25 minutes (with the optional essay), this test includes 215 questions
How is the ACT scored?
A raw score is calculated using the number of questions answered correctly on each test:

1 point for a correct answer

0 points for incorrect answers
The raw scores are converted into scores on a scale from 1-36 for each test. These 4 scores are then averaged to produce a composite score, from 1-36.
The test-taker's raw score for each section is then converted to a scaled score on a scale from 200-800. This leaves each test-taker with a possible final score anywhere from 600-2400.

*The College Board equates all SAT's across the country to ensure fair testing.
CVSR SAT Data (2012)
After receiving the SAT data regarding this years senior class, we uncovered some shocking results
In the spring of 2012, 73 students took the SAT exam
Average Critical Reading Score:
423 out of a possible 800
Average Mathematics Score: 418 out of a possible 800
Average Writing Score:
401 out of a possible 800
Overall Average:
1242 out of a possible 2400
low 730/high 2180
Under ANY circumstances, our average SAT scores are far from proficient
The College Board has established the benchmark score for college readiness is a 1550 out of 2400. Incredibly, our school average fails to reach this benchmark; only 11 out of 73 students, or 15% of the seniors, reached a 1550 or better.
20% of students scored in the 200's for at least one section
Only 5 of the 73 students received a score of at least 600 for a single section
SAT Data Comparison (2012)
National Averages
Last year, over 1.6 million students took the SAT exam
Average Nationwide
Critical Reading Score:
496 out of a possible 800
Average Nationwide Mathematics Score:
514 out of a possible 800
Average Nationwide Writing Score:
488 out of a possible 800
Average Nationwide
Combined Score:
1498 out of a possible 2400
New York State Averages
Over 150,000 students took the SAT exam in New York State
Average Statewide Critical Reading Scores:
483 out of a possible 800
Average Statewide Mathematics Scores:
500 out of a possible 800
Average Statewide Writing Scores:
475 out of a possible 800
New York City Averages
Nearly 50,000 city students took the SAT exam
Average Citywide Critical Reading Score:
434 out of a possible 800
Average Citywide Mathematics Score:
461 out of a possible 800
Average Citywide Writing Score:
430 out of a possible 800
Our students failed to reach National, State, and City averages in each section
Only 12 out of 73 students, or 16%, reached a score at or above the National Average (1500)
Average Statewide
Combined Score:
1458 out of a possible 2400
Average Citywide Combined Score:
1325 out of a possible 2400
Only 19% of students, or 14 out of 73, reached a score at or above the New York State Average (1460)
Only 1 out of every 3 students reached a score at or above the New York City Average (1330)
All of this data leads us to question the significance of the SAT examination, including its direct influence over student's lives
How our school performs on the SAT
The effect that these results will have on the future of our students
How we can improve school wide preparation for the SAT
What our school will ultimately attain from further SAT enrichment
Focal Points for Today's Presentation:
The SAT/ACT Influence
Scores on the SAT & ACT are merely one element of a student's college application, yet these standardized tests hold tremendous significance when colleges evaluate the academic profile of a student
Not only do these exams give colleges insight into a student's reasoning skills, they provide the school with an idea of a student's work ethic as well
Approximately 80% of colleges and universities in the U.S. consider standardized testing 'very important' in reaching admissions decisions, reports the National Association of College Admission Counseling
Colleges also use these exams as tools to compare a students transcript grades, shedding light onto possible scholastic trends
Larger and more selective institutions tend to consider test scores much more intently
That being said, a student's scores will significantly impact the variety and quality of schools a student may realistically gain acceptance to
A quick glance at our school's SAT results hint to the fact that an overwhelming majority of our students would fail to even compete for a seat at renown universities and programs, such as Columbia U. or Macaulay Honors, who muster incoming freshman SAT averages of 2000+
It is apparent that our SAT woes are due to a lack of awareness on the part of the student
And where there is little awareness, there is also little ambition
For our school to improve SAT scores, along with the odds of students getting into better colleges, we need to provide students with significant exposure to the exam throughout their high-school years, including constant reinforcement of basic literacy skills in the classroom
When it comes to SAT/ACT preparation, where exactly should we begin?
Since the SAT & ACT tests require students to develop coherent thoughts, regarding logic based questions, student literacy skills must be taken into account
Possibly, with low SAT averages, it can be inferred
that our students likely find it difficult to process information quickly
This trend can likely be attributed to
the lack of reading by today's students
Our low test scores probably reflect the little preparation that students undergo for the SAT/ACT
Minimum preparation for the tests, coupled with literacy difficulties, results in ill prepared students for these tests
Enrichment Propositions:
teachers dedicate one period every 2-3 weeks completely to SAT/ACT prep, including instruction based on test structure and specific types of questions
teachers provide students with one subject related news article once every 2 weeks
teachers constantly implement both SAT & ACT vocabulary into the 'Do Now' portions of their lessons, in addition to completely focusing an entire 'Do Now' portion to a single vocabulary word at least once a week
teachers assign one SAT/ACT related homework assignment once every two weeks that will be counted towards a students grade
SAT/ACT enrichment classes held regularly on Saturdays
If you need SAT/ACT resources, including study guides, tips for taking the tests, and vocabulary, the internet is definitely the easiest way to access testing materials
Top Websites:


Top Vocabulary Websites:


Top Books:
Barrons SAT 2400

The Official SAT Study Guide by The College Board

Barrons ACT 36

Princeton Review: Cracking the ACT
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