How many parents want the best educational outcomes for their children? This sounds like a ridiculous question, right? The issue is not whether all parents want the best educational outcomes for their children; that is a given. The issue is ensuring that all parents get the necessary tools to equip their children for the demands of today’s educational system. Parents must know that the amount of time and effort spent in ensuring the best educational outcomes for their children must be equally proportioned in two areas: the time in school (on task) and the amount of time spent on self-study and homework at home.
Preparation for the ACT or SAT does not begin in high school; in fact, it starts in elementary school: ongoing reading and vocabulary study, learning grammar skills and advanced writing techniques, learning the mathematical practices, participation in science observation and study, and the informational nature of studying social studies.
All students should be engaged in demanding coursework that requires them to think and to respond in evidence-based writing.
ACT and SAT test results, high school grades, academic preparation, out-of-class accomplishments, and future plans—these and other kinds of information help admissions officials identify applicants who can benefit most from their programs.
Colleges usually try to take into account individual strengths and weaknesses as they place students in first-year courses. For example, a college may offer three sections of a subject—developmental, regular, and advanced. A student's ACT or SAT test results, academic background, and high school grades might be used to determine which section would be most appropriate.
Also, students must read often and in various content areas. The most effective way students can improve their overall score on the reading portions of both tests is to improve his/her vocabulary. The best way to do that is not with flash card drills in the two weeks before the test, but by reading often — books, newspapers, magazines, and, yes, textbooks. Words should be learned naturally through the reading process and reinforced in the classroom or through self-study.
As parents, let us look at some tools that will help equip our children for future educational success on college placement exams and in future college coursework: