As class of 2017 parents, you confront several testing-related issues with your college-bound student. Preliminary planning begins now, and here’s what we foresee:
Embrace the unchanged ACT
The current spec of the new SAT presents an unknown for students who plan to prepare. Meanwhile the library of ACT material is well established. Trusting that the new test is so aligned with curricula that prep is unnecessary or that self-prep online is sufficient is ill advised.
But, there is no true pre-ACT
ACT has discontinued the PLAN and has rolled out the multi-grade Aspire assessment system. The Aspire is even less of a pre-ACT than the PLAN was. While some aspects of the Aspire align with the ACT, the Aspire also contains constructed response items and other elements not seen on the ACT. The inclusion of these items and the push for online testing foreshadows likely changes to the ACT, but not for the class of 2017.
So, take an ACT practice test by the spring of sophomore year
Mimic the real thing. Use a diagnostic tool that gives your student relevant, well-timed exposure to a current college admission test. While we may see small gaps in math content, let’s identify those holes and target them. Compass offers families no-cost proctoring, scoring, and analysis year-round.
And, take the sophomore PSAT when offered in the fall
Though in its final year, the “old” PSAT is still worthwhile: it provides useful feedback; it is normed appropriately; it is a familiar point of reference for planning and advising; and its scores should correlate with the new PSAT and SAT.
Who will take the “old” SAT?
Only very high scoring students who “like” the old SAT. Most juniors will likely flock to the ACT in December 2015 or February 2016. The old SAT in January 2016 will finish a distant second; the redesigned SAT in March 2016 will be last.
Despite this prediction we’re already busy developing curricula and practice tests for the new SAT. We expect the new SAT’s popularity to steadily increase after its debut.
Plan for Subject Tests, too
Advance planning is essential to maximize scores. Not all tests are offered on all dates and you cannot take Subject Tests on the day of your SAT. Selective colleges require them, but some colleges accept the ACT in lieu of both the SAT and Subject Tests.
We hope this is helpful and we welcome questions and further discussion. Expect to see additional resources and information from us soon!