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SPEED: The Standardized Tests Demon

November 17, 2018

  There is no single reason why a student under-performs on standardized tests. But if there’s a pattern of a student’s standardized test scores not living up to grades, SPEED is often the culprit. If the classic fable of the tortoise and the hare were a metaphor for school, standardized tests might be the one occasion that the hare comes out ahead. Standardized tests favor quick thinkers — the kids who finish first with an A, even if they don’t get the highest score in the class. In contrast, students who work more slowly and deliberatively might be capable of answering the most challenging questions, but they run out of time to show it. Speed Challenges Can Worsen Over Time Unfortunately, the… Read More

Standardized Tests

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ACT Changes Extended Time: Does it Matter?

June 6, 2018

Summing it Up Students who qualify for extended time will still have the same total amount of extra time. Before, students could spend their extra time (1.5 hrs) on whichever of the four tests they chose. Now that time is proportionally allocated across the four subject tests. This is a change for the ACT but exactly how the SAT allocates extended time. The change takes effect September 2018. Read the full ACT press release. Who Benefits? Students who struggle with time management and organization, typically those with ADHD. This might also help students with weak flexible thinking who often have difficulty evaluating trade-offs. Not needing to make decisions about how to allocate that large block of time across four tests… Read More

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The Opposite of Grit–Why Kids Quit

April 17, 2018

It can be painful to watch talented kids quit. We muse how successful this kid would be if he just had grit and resilience. We might have even said it outright, “You have so much talent. If you just…” And yet even Paul Tough, one of the leading authors on grit, would be the first to say, that we can’t teach [or implore] students to be grittier. And telling a kid he shouldn’t or can’t quit rarely does much good. So do we stand by and allow talented kids to “throw away” their gifts?! Of course not. It’s Natural to Want to Quit According to evolutionary psychologists, wanting to quit is the most natural human response when we face challenges. Most of us are hardwired to avoid failure; it’s only a small percent… Read More

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According to Google Execs, The Most Important STEM Skills

April 4, 2018

No surprise that schools and parents are heavily focused on STEM skills these days. Careers in STEM, an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math, grew 6 times faster than the number of non-STEM jobs in the last decade, while paying an average of 29% more than non-STEM careers. While majoring in a STEM field isn’t for everyone, pursuing a STEM field is likely to put students on a path to better job security and financial stability. Provided, of course, they are good at their job once they get there. Interestingly, though, two internal studies of workplace success at Google suggest that the most successful workers aren’t the ones with the superior STEM skills. Rather, they are those with good STEM skills and some combination of strengths in 7 other… Read More

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Reducing Student Stress Among High Achievers

March 12, 2018

Are you working with high-achievers? Rather than concerns about motivation and graduation rates, you’re likely worried that your students are too stressed, not getting enough sleep, and will burn out before they even get to college. Stress is considered a growing epidemic among top performing teens. Teachers can’t be responsible for preventing stress and anxiety, but they can instill the importance of self-management and self-care. High achievers need guidance on when to put those books down, how to say no to too many extra-curriculars, and why it might not be a good idea to take every accelerated class. Coaching top performers can be tough. No one wants to hold a student back, tell them they can’t do it all, or stop them from participating in something for which they have… Read More

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