5 critical things to know about the new SAT

Key points:

In the shifting, ever-changing landscape of American education, a major transformation is on the horizon. The SAT, an iconic rite of passage for college hopefuls since its inception in 1926, is shedding its paper skin to embrace the digital age. The College Board, the body governing the SAT, has already begun rolling out groundbreaking moves to transform the test from its dated paper format to a dynamic, streamlined online format. 

This pivot to the virtual realm is set to usher in a new era of efficiency and accessibility, but it does arrive with its own set of new challenges for students. With its U.S. debut in March 2024, the now Digital SAT (DSAT) will arrive with a new structure and layout to modernize the test-taking process. …Read More

Blackbird Releases K-12 Computer Science Pathway

PORTLAND, July 13, 2021 – Blackbird, bridging the gap in Computer Science curriculum, today announced the availability of their K-12 Computer Science Pathway, designed to help school districts prepare students with the computer programming skills necessary to enter the workforce – or continue their education at the university level. Designed specifically for districts who have not yet implemented a comprehensive computer science course pathway, Blackbird’s pathway highlights tools and lessons from Code.org, Blackbird’s own intermediate code education platform, and the College Board. This pathway outlines CS opportunities at every grade level while providing students with the skills, facilities and options they need to become professional developers.

To download Blackbird’s K-12 Computer Science Pathway, please visit: www.BlackbirdCode.com/pathways

“This pathway was designed to enable students to graduate High School with the computer programming skills necessary to enter the workforce, or continue their education at the university level,” said Mike Lynch, Director of Education, Blackbird. “The pathway starts students early in elementary school with basic concepts and games, then to text-based programming using Blackbird in middle school, and ends with two years of advanced programming utilizing a hybrid of Blackbird and other platforms in high school.”…Read More

The College Board Partners with PBLWorks to Train Teachers for New AP Courses Rooted in Project Based Learning

PBLWorks, the leading provider of professional development for Project Based Learning (PBL), has partnered with the College Board to offer a new PBL-based professional development program for Advanced Placement (AP) courses in Environmental Science and U.S Government and Politics. The new courses use a Project Based Learning method of teaching and are based on powerful new breakthrough research just released by the Center for Economic and Social Research at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, that found PBL coupled with high-quality professional development significantly improves student performance when compared to students in non-PBL classrooms.

Specifically, the research demonstrated that high school students in AP classes who engaged in hands-on, inquiry-based projects with real-world applications performed higher than their peers on AP U.S. Government and Politics and AP Environmental Science exams. In year one of a randomized controlled trial in five U.S. cities they scored 8 percentage points higher, and in year two of the study they scored 10 percentage points higher – and they were more likely to earn a qualifying score of 3 or above which could increase their chance of receiving college credit and saving on tuition.

“We’ve seen the impact of PBL firsthand in our work with schools and now this research provides proof of its impact on students who are taking AP classes,” said Bob Lenz, CEO of PBLWorks, “That’s why we’ve partnered with the College Board to support new project-based AP courses that are relevant, authentic, and engaging.”…Read More

Backer of Common Core school curriculum is chosen to lead College Board

David Coleman, an architect of the common core curriculum standards that are being adopted in nearly all 50 states, will become the president of the College Board, starting in October, the New York Times reports. The College Board, a membership organization of high schools and colleges that administers the SAT, the Advanced Placement program and other standardized tests, helped design the standards — an outline of what students should learn in English and math from kindergarten through high school — meant to ensure that all high school graduates are prepared for college. Mr. Coleman’s new position will involve a continued focus on college readiness. “We have a crisis in education, and over the next few years, the main thing on the College Board’s agenda is to deliver its social mission,” he said in an interview on Tuesday. “The College Board is not just about measuring and testing, but designing high-quality curriculum.”

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Most students who should be taking the tests aren’t

While more high school students are taking the Advanced Placement exams — and succeeding on them — most students who should be taking the exams aren’t, the Huffington Post reports. More than 60 percent of students considered to have AP potential didn’t take the exam last year, even though their PSAT scores showed they could perform well on one, according to a College Board report released last week. Overall, black, Latino and Native American students were less likely to take AP exams than their white and Asian counterparts. “AP potential” as defined by the College Board is a 70 percent or greater likelihood that a student will score a 3 (out of 5) or higher on an AP exam. The “potential” is calculated based on more than 2 million public school PSAT/NMSQT takers in the class of 2011…

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As college fees climb, aid does too

As their state financing dwindled, four-year public universities increased their published tuition and fees almost 8 percent this year, to an average of $7,605, according to the College Board’s annual reports, says the New York Times. When room and board are included, the average in-state student at a public university now pays $16,140 a year. At private nonprofit colleges and universities, tuition rose 4.5 percent to an average of $27,293, or $36,993 with room and board. The good news in the 2010 “Trends in College Pricing” and “Trends in Student Aid” reports is that fast-rising tuition costs have been accompanied by a huge increase in financial aid, which helped keep down the actual amount students and families pay…

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Once a leader, U.S. lags in college degrees

Adding to a drumbeat of concern about the nation’s dismal college-completion rates, the College Board warned July 22 that the growing gap between the United States and other countries threatens to undermine American economic competitiveness, reports the New York Times. The United States used to lead the world in the number of 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees. Now it ranks 12th among 36 developed nations. “The growing education deficit is no less a threat to our nation’s long-term well-being than the current fiscal crisis,” Gaston Caperton, the president of the College Board, warned at a meeting on Capitol Hill of education leaders and policy makers, where he released a report detailing the problem and recommending how to fix it. “To improve our college completion rates, we must think ‘P-16’ and improve education from preschool through higher education.” William Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, who hosted the Washington discussion along with Caperton, said the United States has fallen behind other countries over several decades. Canada now leads the world in educational attainment, with about 56 percent of its young adults having earned at least associate’s degrees in 2007, compared with only 40 percent of those in the United States…

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Technology a key tool in writing instruction

Teachers use software including MY Access! to help their students improve their writing.
Teachers are using software such as Vantage Learning’s MY Access! to help their students improve their writing.

While there are still many obstacles facing teachers in implementing technology, teachers play a critical role in driving the use of technology to teach writing, says a recent report by the National Writing Project (NWP) and the College Board.

In the report, “Writing, Learning, and Leading in the Digital Age,” nine teachers—selected for their commitment to excellence and for a diverse set of disciplines, locations, kinds of schools, and student populations they represent—were observed by a writer for one day and then interviewed.…Read More

Expansion of A.P. tests also brings more failures

The College Board’s Advanced Placement program is expanding in American high schools, but as it moves from being a program primarily for elite students, the number of test-takers who fail A.P. exams is growing — although not as much as the number of those who pass, reports the New York Times. According to a College Board report, about 800,000 public high school seniors in last May’s graduating class, or 26.5 percent of the class, took an A.P. exam at some point in their high school career, almost twice as many as took A.P. exams in the class of 2001.

While the majority of students who take A.P. exams still earn a passing score of 3, 4 or 5, which is enough to earn college credit at many institutions, the share of failing scores has risen with the program’s rapid expansion. In 2009, about 43 percent of the 2.3 million A.P. exams taken earned a failing grade of 1 or 2, compared with 39 percent of the one million exams taken by the class of 2001…

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