My wife was recently complaining today that it seems all the students in Greater Cincinnati are turning to the ACT and dumping the SAT.
Why is that?
The ACT continues to be the more understandable or familiar test, and I think students in the Midwest gravitate to that. It’s what students are used to.
Think about it.
In school students are usually given formulas or other rote memorization tasks in addition to written or experimental projects. Their job is to know the material and then be quizzed or tested on it. Usually, there is not much critical thinking involved.
Formerly, the SAT was weird because of the esoteric vocabulary. Now it’s weird because you are asked to get into the mind of the author and ask questions like, “Why would the other use those words? Why would he use that rhetorical device? Why would he use grammar in that way?” Students really aren’t taught much of this type of thinking in school. If they are, it might be in American Lit or British Lit class. These same students just try to get it over with and hope their jobs memorizing and summarizing for papers will be the staple they need to graduate.
So does the ACT excuse students from thinking too deeply then?
Not really, especially when you consider the science section.
Students need to think in steps to achieve perfect results. This is why I still get calls from parents who complain their children have 4.4 GPAs but only 25s on the ACT. If students learn the critical thinking process to deal with one piece of the puzzle at a time, they can achieve their goals.
Consider Alex, from Mason High School. He, like other students we’ve tutored in Mason, was able to score into the top 1%. Yes, even a 36. Did he blindly walk into it? Like other hard working students he learned to critically think.
No doubt, preparation is necessary. Students like Grace can tell you it was the test prep that gave her a plan for the 36 she was desiring on test day.