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The College Board is careful not to call it “coaching,” but rather practice, and “official” practice at that.The College Board spokesman told Ethical College Admissions, “Too much of commercial test prep teaches to the test -- looking for shortcuts and tricks to ‘beat’ the test ...Sample Answer Explanations Ivy Global's SAT Teacher's Manual (PDF) I have a Dream Speech - Martin Luther King Jr.
The College Board and Khan Academy firmly believe in practice, and particularly practice that is personalized to pinpoint areas where learners need additional help.” I’m not a fan of the test prep industry, especially the “beat the test” mentality, but what the College Board calls practice sounds a lot like coaching.
Let’s look more carefully at the 115-point increase claim.
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Last fall some of my students took a practice ACT through a national test-prep company. Some of that was that the students taking the test were first semester juniors, but my staff also suspected another factor. If your pre-test scores are low it provides incentive to take a test prep course, and it increases the score benefit you receive from the course.
We wondered if the practice test questions were a “hard” version of the test, artificially lowering scores. A representative from the test prep firm confirmed that practice.
He is a co-author of the book The Enlightened College Applicant: A New Approach to the Search and Admissions Process (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).
As a hijacked plane full of escaped convicts takes off with the convicts singing and dancing to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” Buscemi’s character wryly observes, “Define irony: a bunch of idiots dancing on a plane to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash.” Recently the College Board issued a statement trumpeting the success of its collaboration with Khan Academy to provide free online practice for the new SAT.
According to the statement, students who spend at least 20 hours on Khan Academy’s “Official SAT Practice” have an average score increase of 115 points, nearly double the increase of those who don’t use the Khan Academy program. The College Board affirming the value of test preparation is akin to Greenpeace suddenly denying the existence of global warming.
For nearly 60 years the College Board’s position has been that test prep provides minimal benefits.