Tools of the Trade: First Generation SAT Preparation: Best Practices for Overcoming Barriers and Motivating Students (The Princeton Review Foundation Presentation)
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Tools of the Trade: First Generation SAT Preparation: Best Practices for Overcoming Barriers and Motivating Students (The Princeton Review Foundation Presentation)

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The Princeton Review Foundation discusses their approach to preparing low-income and first-generation students for the SAT and SAT.

The Princeton Review Foundation discusses their approach to preparing low-income and first-generation students for the SAT and SAT.

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  • 1. Helping First-Generation Students Confront the SAT - A Work in Progress Jay Rosner, Executive Director The Princeton Review Foundation NPEA Conference April 8, 2010 Copyright © 2010 Jay Rosner
  • 2. Princeton Review Foundation, a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit
    • National Partnerships – HBCUs, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, College Horizons, KIPP Schools, NABC, etc.
    • SAT, ACT, LSAT, GRE, GMAT & MCAT
    • Presentations & workshops at conferences & for admissions staffs & high school faculty
    • Advice to students in disputes with ETS /ACT
    • Test critic for 20+ years, ETS litigation
    • Advocacy – U. Michigan Law School case
  • 3. 4-Year College Admissions vs. “College Prep” High School Budgets
    • 4-Year College Admissions:
    • Application “Weights”
    • Typical “College Prep”
    • High School Expenditures
  • 4. For Students: Jay’s Opinion of What The SAT Measures
    • How intelligent you are?
    • No.
    • How well you’ll do in college?
    • No. (only helps somewhat in FY GPA)
    • How good you are on SAT?
    • YES !
    • If you have a high test score, it just means that you’re good at the test. And, that’s all.
    • Can you improve your score?
            • YES! Here’s what you need to do …
  • 5. Presentation to Students: What is “Preparing Intensively?”
    • Prep minimums (course or self-study):
    • 1.5 - 2 hours per day, of high-quality practice
    • 5-6 days per week
    • for 5-6 weeks , right up to the official test
    • 4-5 practice tests , spaced out properly.
    • Less risks a lower-than-your-best score.
    • What I say to HS students …
  • 6. KIPP High Schools
    • 11 KIPP public, open-enrollment high schools (also 55 middle schools, 16 elementary schools):
    • 80% free & reduced lunch
    • Rural and urban, Latino & African American
    • Workshops for high school faculty & staff
    • Some successes (two rurals, one urban):
    • all 44 of first Gaston, NC class in college
    • 23 seniors in Helena, AK beat ACT average
    • KIPP Houston HS: 16 th best in U.S. News list
  • 7.
    • Strategy: an energized SAT/ACT environment
    • Tactics:
    • SAT/ACT prep similar to wealthy kids
    • Faculty & staff awareness-to-support
    • Test as an adversary, faculty & staff are allies (Boston Arts Academy)
    • Sports analogies for performance – score points, stay in the game
    • Not cheerleading, but rising to the challenge
    • “ Secret” technique – getting others to take test
    Leveraging Faculty to Motivate Kids
  • 8.
    • We’re a team, test as adversary, cohort effect
    • Take control of the test – do the questions in the order best for you
    • Example: 2-pass (or 3-pass) reading comp. technique
    • Skipping questions (come back if time)
    • Note – not available on CATs (GRE)
    Tactics for Empowering Kids
  • 9. SAT/ACT Free Throw Analogy
    • SAT : Academia :: FT Shooting : Basketball
    • SAT & FT Shooting : contrived, artificial, static, solitary, PREDICTABLE, limited context & skills w/mechanistic approach, confidence & psych factors
    • Academia & Basketball : complex, dynamic, broad open-ended skill set w/creativity, messy like life
    • Improvement : Virtually everyone (Shaq?) can improve with practice and some expert instruction
    • Moral - SAT and academia are significantly disconnected; different skills are involved (Shaq!)
  • 10. Male/Female SAT Comparisons, with a Focus on Math
    • Pretesting : questions are “tried out” in the variable (unscored) SAT section, and then selected or rejected.
    • Male preference question: the percentage of males answering correctly (say, 62%) is higher than that of females (55%).
    • Female preference question: the opposite, the female percentage is higher.
  • 11. The “Three Digit” Question: Male or Female Preference?
    • 4 K 8
            • 3
    • = m
    • 6. In the equation above, K is a digit in the three-digit number 4 K 8, and m is a positive integer. Which of the following could be the digit K ?
      • (A) 1
      • (B) 3
      • (C) 4
      • (D) 5
      • (E) 7
    • Source: Oct. 2000 SAT, Sec. 1, #6
  • 12. The “Three Digit” Question: Female Preference, 88% to 87%
    • 4 K 8
            • 3
    • = m
    • 6. In the equation above, K is a digit in the three-digit number 4 K 8, and m is a positive integer. Which of the following could be the digit K ?
      • (A) 1
      • ( B) 3 (Correct Answer)
      • (C) 4
      • (D) 5
      • (E) 7
    • Source: Oct. 2000 SAT, Sec. 1, #6
  • 13. Male/Female Math Analysis of 2 SAT Data Sets: Oct.,1998 & 2000
    • 60 math questions per test, 2 tests:
    • 120 questions
    • Query: How many male preference questions? Female preference questions? (Hints: 3 are no-pref. questions, and boys outscore girls)
    • The number of female preference questions out of 117 others is:
    • 1 question
    • The number of male preference questions out of 117 is:
    • 116 questions
  • 14. Distribution of Male/Female Gaps in Oct. 1998 and Oct. 2000 Data Sets . # of ques- tions % gap in questions
  • 15.
    • Comments?
  • 16. The “security blanket” Question: White or Mex. Am. Preference?
    • 7. At bedtime the security blanket served the child as _______ with seemingly magical powers to ward off frightening phantasms.
    • (A) an arsenal (B) an incentive (C) a talisman
    • (D) a trademark (E) a harbinger
    • Source: Oct. 2000 SAT, question #7, section 2
  • 17. The “security blanket” Question is a Mex. Am. Pref. Question
    • At bedtime the security blanket served the child as _______ with seemingly magical powers to ward off frightening phantasms.
    • (A) an arsenal (B) an incentive (C) a talisman
    • (D) a trademark (E) a harbinger
    • Source: Oct. 2000 SAT, question #7, section 2
    49% of Mex. Ams. and 46% of whites (3% gap) got this correct
  • 18. White/Mex. Am. Analysis of 2 SATs: October, 1998 and October, 2000
    • 60 math & 78 verbal questions per test (138 total), 2 tests:
    • 276 questions
    • Query: How many Mex. Am. preference questions? White preference questions? (ETS folks are liberals.)
    • The number of Mex. Am. preference questions out of 276 is:
    • 1 question
    • (Another one-hitter!)
    • The number of white preference questions out of 276 is:
    • 274 questions
  • 19. Distribution of White/Mex Am Gaps in Oct. 1998 and Oct. 2000 Data Sets . # of ques- tions % gap in questions
  • 20. The “actor’s bearing” Question: White or Black Preference?
    • The actor’s bearing on stage seemed _____; her movements were natural and her technique _____ .
    • (A) unremitting … blase
    • (B) fluid … tentative
    • (C) unstudied … uncontrived
    • (D) eclectic … uniform
    • (E) grandiose … controlled
    • Source: Wall St. Journal, citing ETS
  • 21. The “actor’s bearing” Question: Black Preference, with an 8 % Gap
    • The actor’s bearing on stage seemed _____; her movements were natural and her technique _____ .
    • (A) unremitting … blase
    • (B) fluid … tentative
    • (C) unstudied … uncontrived
    • (D) eclectic … uniform
    • (E) grandiose … controlled
    • Source: Wall St. Journal, citing ETS
  • 22. White/Black Analysis of 2 SATs: October, 1998 and October, 2000
    • 60 math & 78 verbal questions per test (138 total), 2 tests:
    • 276 questions
    • Query: How many black preference questions? White preference questions?
    • The number of black preference questions out of 276 is:
    • 0 questions
    • (a no-hitter)
    • The number of white preference questions out of 276 is:
    • 276 questions
  • 23. Distribution of White/Black Gaps in Oct. 1998 and Oct. 2000 Data Sets . # of ques- tions % gap in questions
  • 24. Why Do They Choose Questions Like a Reverse NBA Draft?
    • “ Each individual SAT question ETS chooses is required to parallel the outcomes of the test overall. So, if high-scoring test-takers – who are more likely to be white - tend to answer the question correctly in pretesting, it’s a worthy SAT question; if not, it’s thrown out. Race and ethnicity are not considered explicitly, but racially disparate scores drive question selection, which in turn reproduces racially disparate test results in an internally reinforcing cycle.” The Nation , April 14, 2003, pg. 24.
  • 25. Conclusions of Preference Analysis
    • All SAT questions capture something about race & gender, and 99% of the time it is invisible.
    • Group score differences are set NOT when students test, but when questions are chosen.
    • Black preference questions are ALWAYS eliminated after pretesting – racial profiling?
    • Bubble tests quantify race (who’s flunking the exit exams in TX, MA, FL, CA)?
    • The SAT is a white preference test, “built’ by selecting white preference questions.