Teachers – is the concept of being on camera all day, every day worrying you? Are you concerned with keeping your students engaged? If you are, watch this video to see what techniques we have used to teach over 5,000 lessons in the past few months.
In this video, you will learn how to
- create better engagement with your students through sound and video
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- get the most from your LMS built-in analytics by asking single question quizzes before moving topics.
UC Drops ACT & SAT – Real or Threat?
The University of California has flexed its collective muscle before and threatened to drop the ACT and SAT from its admissions requirements. In fact, the UC has made similar threats publicly at least three times in the last 25+ years.
For those that don’t like to read, click on the image
above to watch this video on YouTube.
The $1 billion nonprofit College Board, creators of the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, AP Exams, and PSAT is led by President David Coleman. Coleman is no stranger to education or controversy (his previous role was as the architect of the Common Core State Standards). Mr. Coleman has a long career in developing content that he believes is important and necessary, even if the general public does not share the same belief.
With growing concern that the ACT and SAT no longer serves the UC’s best interest, UC President Janet Napolitano, a savvy career politician, led the charge to drop (or change) the test as part of the admissions requirements. While the headlines are quite alarming, the wording of the decision allows UC just enough wiggle room to continue to accept the ACT and SAT as long as changes are made.
The UC decision states, “if UC is unable to either modify or create a test that can be available for fall 2025…, the President recommends that UC eliminate altogether its standardized testing requirements.”
The UC clearly states that it is willing to accept an existing test that is modified to its liking or review a new one. The UC has clearly not been able to pressure the ACT and SAT into modifying its tests in private meetings, so Napolitano has publicly upped the stakes.
The UC is not wholly disappointed with the exams. Just last month, the UC Senate voted 51 – 0 to keep the tests, stating that professors found the test useful for admissions. In addition, the UC is keeping the test requirements “for other purposes such as course placement, certain scholarships, and eligibility for the statewide admissions guarantee.”
What could explain the back and forth with the approval then the immediate disapproval of the test? A quick look at the history of the strained relationship between the College Board and UC might provide more context.
First, UC is the College Board’s most significant “customer.” Over 200,000 prospective students apply to the UC system each year, with all of those students taking the ACT and/or SAT as part of the admissions requirements. While the UC does not pay the College Board for these tests, the College Board greatly relies on the income from these UC applicants.
When UC has been disappointed with the test in the past, they have not been shy about airing their grievances in public. In 1994, UC was unhappy that minority students were not adequately represented and forced the SAT to drop the vocabulary section from the test. After a few years of peace, in 2001, UC again threatened to drop the test, and the College Board once again complied with its demands.
In 2005, UC again lit a fire under the College Board because the test was biased against females, primarily minority females, so the test changed to a three-section test with a total score of 2400 instead of the traditional 1600. The additional writing section was biased in favor of females and was supposed to level the test results between males and females.
After losing market share to the ACT, in 2015 the SAT did a significant redesign and morphed into something that looked very much like the ACT After five years of data, the UC is clearly not happy with the current version of the tests and is once again forcing them to change.
The ACT and College Board make close to $1.75 billion each year. It is not clear if UC wants to get into the testing market to help prop up revenues which are going to be cut from the COVID-19 crisis, or if the wording allows for some joint partnership between the California State Unversity system and UC to create their own test. If the CSU and UC were to create their own exam, they would then need a way to administer that test. It is unlikely they want to get into that market, so this is possibly more saber-rattling than anything else.
Only time will determine what the result is, but the UC is looking for the best test, and they are using the momentum from the COVID-19 crisis of going test-optional to show the ACT and SAT who is really in charge.
Mike Flynn, owner of ∑ngenius Learning Centers, is a test-prep veteran with over 30+ years experience prepping students for the ACT and SAT. This latest chapter in the back and forth story between the UC and mega testing companies reads like the Star Wars saga, except it isn’t always clear which one represents the Dark Side!
Navigating Your Child’s Summer Vacation
Tips For Keeping Them Occupied And Safe
by Laura Pearson
Today’s teens and tweens typically cannot wait for the school year to end and for summertime to begin, and there are plenty of fun activities they can embrace to stay active and busy. At the same time, all of that free time can be a concern for parents who want to keep their kids safe and away from risky situations. What are some of the best ways for kids to spend their summers in a positive way?
It can take some digging to find structured activities for older kids
Once kids get a bit older, it can be tricky to figure out how to keep them busy throughout the summer. For some kids, connecting with friends in an unstructured way works, but many parents want to find more structured plans for their tweens and teens. However, many communities have summer camps available that have programs targeted to these age ranges, and local YMCA facilities or nature centers can be a great place to start.
For kids who might be at an age where an internship is on the radar, plan ahead and start the search earlier than you think is necessary. Great Schools notes that registration for many of these opportunities starts as early as January or February, and that can be the case for camps and other summertime activities, as well.
Additionally, depending on your child’s age, they may be able to pick up some full- or part-time work that will keep them occupied and earn them a little bit of spending money for the summer months. Babysitting or nannying, dog walking, or mowing lawns are all great options, and still give parents the flexibility to plan family outings or trips during the break. If working isn’t an option, consider volunteer possibilities, as well.
Factor in your child’s passions and interests when considering options
When you are working with your child to determine summer plans, consider their interests, and see what you can find that aligns with their passions. A library or bookstore may have some options for dedicated readers, while a pet rescue might be able to use some help from animal lovers. There are often sports camps targeted to different specialties, and working at a local pool might be an option too. It never hurts to check with your child’s teacher or others at school to see what possibilities they might be aware of, as well.
Summertime is a great time for kids to try new activities and have fun, but when school is out, many tweens and teens end up with too much time on their hands, and this can lead to risky behavior choices. In addition, if your child owns a smartphone, that can add an extra layer of concern to the mix of things. Teen Safe suggests that you set strict limits on your child’s daily tech usage during the summertime, as it is easy during this time of year to spend hours on devices and get addicted. Ultimately, your goal is to ensure that they strike a balance between technology or media and real-life interaction and experiences.
Communicate with your tween or teen and lay out clear expectations
No matter how much you trust your child, keep the lines of communication open as they age and set them up for success when it comes to managing peer relationships and access to technology. Parent Map points out that this time of year is a prime time for issues with drug or alcohol experimentation with this age group, and car accidents also spike during the summer.
How can you help your child stay out of these risky situations? Stay in contact with your teen or tween even when they are out and about, and make sure that they know they can count on you to help if they end up in a difficult situation. Talk with your child about the risks of drugs, alcohol, and other risky behaviors, and help them form strategies for resisting peer pressure.
Make sure that your expectations for your kids are clearly laid out, and remember that you want to work with your child to create a fun and productive summer for them. As Your Teen points out, compromise is important when planning out this time, and a bit of resistance from your teen is probably to be expected if you feel you have to say “no” to some of their proposed plans.
The summer season can be a great time for kids to have fun, stay active, and make memories, but it can be a challenging time for parents to manage. Start your planning early when it comes to structuring activity for the summertime and work with your child to ensure they will make safe choices so they will stay on the right track.
[Image via Pixabay]