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Changing the ACT/SAT Culture

August 30, 2012

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Changing the ACT/SAT culture at a school doesn’t need to take a tremendous amount of time. Part of changing the culture means informing students that they can raise their scores, even if they only put in a little time. It also means getting the word out to students and parents about important tools like the ACT TIR and SAT Q and A Service.

Here are just a few ideas of things you can do to raise awareness and help your students increase their scores.

1. ACT Test Information Release (TIR) Service and SAT Question and Answer Service.
Schools need to help every parent and student be aware of the value of these services so they can take advantage of them on the tests where they are available. Mention these services at every parent or college night. Make sure counselors are discussing with juniors when meet. Edit the letter that goes out with PLAN or PSAT scores to include info about the TIR and Q and A Service.

Informing students as to the importance of these services will be worth the school’s effort. When students order these services, they see exactly which questions they got wrong, and this is the smartest way students can prepare for their next attempt at the test.

For more information about the SAT Q and A Service, click here:

2. Bagel or Pizza Party to reward practice on Method Test Prep
Students love rewards. Running a usage contest takes little work on your part. We have a letter/email to students and parents ready for you; just email us if you would like a template. A great contest to start with is “Get to 50 Words Mastered in Method Test Prep by _______ (ex. 2 months from now) and get invited to a Free Breakfast Party.” Pick an end date for the contest and make a few announcements.

3. Using PLAN or PSAT Results
The shame is that most students don’t do anything with the PLAN or PSAT booklet that they receive. All I ask students to do is look at the 5 easiest questions they missed (they can find these by looking at the difficulty level of the questions they missed). Once students get a few of these questions correct on the second attempt, it answers the nerve-wracking question, “Can I really raise my ACT or SAT score?”

For more info to share with parents and students about why students should care about the PSAT (or PLAN) for that matter, click here:

4. ACT 27 Club or SAT 1800 Club
Students respond to the challenge of getting into their school’s ACT 27 Club or SAT 1800 Club. (Schools can also reward score improvement in addition to a benchmark score. For example, a Raise Your PSAT to SAT Score 150 Points Club.) Of course, the numbers can vary but the idea is simple. Announce that a plaque with all students who achieve the goal will be hung in the main hallway, and a picture of the “club members” will be in the school and community newspaper. Districts that have implemented an ACT or SAT Club have experienced an increase in motivation when the “elite” distinction was introduced.

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