Skills, Skills, Skills – Do you have those testing skills?

Skills skills skillsWhile hate-reading some articles posted online over the weekend, I ended up looking on College Board’s website for a reference link to share with one of my twitter buddies and lo and behold I found this awesome new College Board tagline. Apparently College Board has decided that to help convince everyone that the redesigned SAT tests the skills that students have developed in high school they are going to use “Skill” as often as they can and in as many contexts as they can come up with. Here are a few more samples:

Skills skills skills 3

Skills skills skills 2

 

This awesomely bad use of the word immediately reminded me of Destiny’s Child’s hit Bills Bills Bills. So inspired by lack of sleep and a sick sense of humor I decided to pen College Board’s new theme song. I highly recommend that they play it every time David Coleman comes on stage.

Before I share with you the awesomeness of my first musical masterpiece, let me share with you a contest.

 

Music Skills to pay the SAT Prep Bills

The challenge is to create the best Skills, Skills, Skills song.  The best submission of a rendition of a college or SAT themed Skills Skills Skills will receive a free SAT prep class for a school or non-profit organization of their choice* (limitations apply).  I’ll actually choose two winning submissions.

Deadline to submit is November 15, winner will be announced here and on twitter (akilbello) on November 20.

Destiny’s Child – Bills Bills Bills

And now, without further ado:

 

Skills Skills, Skills

by Ken-ye Test (aka Akil Bello)

At first this started about school
Testing for college and for scholarships
But now, you’re getting comfortable
Ain’t scorin’ like you used to score
You’re slowly making me learn ya things your high school should be handling
And now I’ve given you the Core (cooooorrree)
Teaching you thinking and to read a doc or graph
And you have the audacity to even come and say you’re ready
Ask to go to university or even get a job from me

You average, good for nothing type of tester
Oh woe is me, these scores just keep on getting lesser
They’re fallin’, the new test better help me out
Instead of ACT who don’t get what rigor is all about

Can you show me those algebra skills
Can you do my linear drills
Can you show me those Common Core skills
If you did then maybe we could chill
I don’t think you do
So, you and college are through

(repeat chorus)

Now you’ve been freakin’ out ’bout words (wooords)
Blamin’ my lexicon, sayin’ learning word’s insane
Haven’t seen a college text
But you’re sure the words don’t count
Running to the ACT
Pretending they’re not doin’ it too

And then you learn no grammar (grammar)
Using singular when it should be plural instead
When the essay comes, all of a sudden you have no opinion
Don’t know where these thoughts came from
But MLK shows up is the only leader you’ve ever heard from

You average, good for nothing type of tester
Oh woe is me, these scores just keep on getting lesser
They’re fallin’, the new test better help me out
Instead of ACT who don’t get what rigor is all about

Can you show me those algebra skills

Can you do my linear drills
Can you show me those Common Core skills
If you did then maybe we could chill
I don’t think you do
So, you and college are through

Can you show me those algebra skills

Can you do my linear drills
Can you show me those Common Core skills
If you did then maybe we could chill
I don’t think you do
The ACT’s hard too.

You average, good for nothing type of tester
Oh woe is me, these scores just keep on getting lesser
You average, good for nothing type of tester
Oh woe is me, these scores just keep on getting lesser
You average, good for nothing type of tester
Oh woe is me, these scores just keep on getting lesser
You average, good for nothing type of tester
Oh woe is me, these scores just keep on getting lesser
They’re fallin’, the new test better help me out
Instead of ACT who don’t get what rigor is all about

Can you show me those algebra skills
Can you do my linear drills
Can you show me those Common Core skills
If you did then maybe we could chill
I don’t think you do
So, you and college are through

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New SAT – How Hard is It?

blogging in hawaii
Yup, I wrote this blog while vacationing in Hawai’i

Earlier this August, the College Board released raw score to scaled score conversion charts for the redesigned SAT, giving the world the final piece of the puzzle to the structure, format, and scoring of this, the newest version of the SAT. With this last nugget of information, we in the test prep world can begin to comprehensively understand how (whether) the redesign will impact student performance. If you, like me, have been following the trail of breadcrumbs released by the College Board since the March 5th of 2014 announcement, finally having a conversion chart is like opening your last gift on Christmas morning (and yeah I mean both that feeling of disappointment when you get a sweater or socks and that feeling of excitement when you get your brand new Atari).

So with the release of the conversion chart (ostensibly after exhaustive beta testing, research, calibrating, and equating by the College Board), we finally have official word on how raw scores will be converted to scaled scores and how many questions you’ll need to answer correctly in order to get the score you want. Let’s look at what we know so far and how the new SAT and old SAT compare. Specifically, let’s investigate how “difficult” it is to get a 500 math score on either test. Why 500? Because 500 is the approximate median score on the current SAT and very likely the median score on the redesigned SAT. Additionally 500 is the much ballyhooed college readiness benchmark which College Board seems hell bent on trying to convince us there is causation with success in college. Anyway let’s dive right in.

 

New SAT

To get a 500 on the redesigned SAT a test-taker will have to achieve a raw score of 24 out of a maximum possible 58 raw score points. Since the new SAT uses a simple scoring system awarding 1 raw point for each question correctly answer and with no wrong answer penalty, getting a raw score of 24 simply means answering 24 questions correctly (or answering fewer than 24 and guessing the remaining questions correctly, but in this comparison we won’t factor in random guessing and luck). So on the redesigned test to get a 500, the likely median score, a test-taker will have to answer correctly approximately 41% of the questions.

Current SAT

Conversely on the currently, to get a 500 a test-taker has to achieve a raw score of 25 (out of the maximum possible raw score of 54). This means that a test-taker will have to a get between 46% and 57% of the questions correct. Because the current SAT takes off a quarter point for each incorrect response the scoring is more complex and there are 23 different ways a test-taker could get a 25.

All 23 ways to get a 500 on the current SAT

The verdict is…

When you take into account the greater accuracy level required and the complexity of the scoring system, getting an average score on the current form of the SAT seems to be harder than it will be on the redesigned SAT. So when we look at the scoring system one has to say that the new SAT is going to make it easier for a student to get a score that indicates “college readiness.” Now, if only the content is easier on the redesigned test as well… but that’s another vacation’s writing entirely.

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The Sky is Falling!

Among my least favorite things that come with the fall season are pumpkin spice everything, the college ranking freak out, and the data misinterpretation that stems from the release of the yearly state SAT scores. Each year after the College Board releases data on the average scores you get a new round of newspaper articles and 6 o’clock news reports on whether that state’s (or district’s) scores have fallen or risen. But what is consistently left out in the rush to report is any attempt at providing relevance and meaning to the numbers. Let’s check out some of this year’s journalistic gems: Continue reading The Sky is Falling!

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