College Board Will No Longer Offer SAT Subject Tests or SAT with EssayContinue reading “SAT Changes for 2021”
“A class of children sit revising for make-or-break exams to get them into the college of their choice. It’s the sort of scene that could be seen in high schools across the world but for one important difference: The pupils have intravenous drips hanging over their desks. The image is taken from footage that claims to reveal the controversial use of the drips to boost pupils’ ability to study at a school in Xiaogan, Hubei province, China.” Full story
Homeschooling parents have a special kind of anxiety about standardized testing. In many cases, the very principle of using a standardized course of study is exactly why some parents removed their kids from group schools in the first place. The notion of the individualized pursuit of academic excellence is the opposite of seeking standardization and consistency. Parents I talk to are completely comfortable marching to the beat of their own drum… until somewhere around middle or high school.
Around middle / high school the homeschooling parent’s anxiety goes up, and parents worry about their kids “measuring up” against the kids who have taken standardized tests on a regular basis. Why? PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP, and a few others in the alphabet soup of measurement are introduced into the homeschool for the first time. Remember, most states don’t require homeschooled kids to take standardized tests, in fact, my own kids didn’t take a test until we moved to a “test required” state in 2012. My oldest was a senior in high school with 21 college credits before he ever had to “fill in a bubble.”
The irony of parent’s anxiety is that homeschooled teens usually kick-butt when it comes to standardized testing. I think most of us have heard the stats- generally homeschooled teens score somewhere in the 80th+ percentile on standardized grade-level tests and in the upper quartile on college entrance exams. The “why” behind those stats are for another day, but, for most parents, those stats aren’t comforting reassurance- they’re a mandate.
If homeschooled kids are expected to test higher than average, this adds a lot of pressure to homeschooling parents. After all, since higher standards are the norm, scoring average or below average feels like a failure to some. This is a case where “above average” has become average.
But what if your teen really is average? What if your teen has passions and talents that aren’t part of what is tested on the SAT? What if your teen is just a regular student who will probably score in the 50th percentile in most subjects? They have no chance, right?
Well, you might be surprised and relieved to know that SAT scores are not an accurate predictor of success in college – and yet, they continue to be a source of stress and fuss among high school parents and students. Homeschool parents know, but should be reminded, that academic success is multi-dimensional. College success is multi-dimensional.
Happiness, health, and success in life are not based on a test score.
College Entrance Exams
As you consider standardized testing, know that college entrance tests are currently optional. Unlike achievement tests that may be required of k-12 homeschool students in some states, the PSAT, ACT, and SAT for college entrance are not required exams. Choosing to take an exam is an opportunity for your teen to demonstrate college readiness. As such, whether or not your teen decides to take one of these exams depends on 4 key factors: homeschool exit strategies, target colleges, availability, and their strengths/weaknesses.
1. Homeschool Exit Strategies
What are the options after high school? The most popular options include college, military, apprenticeship, mission work, vocational training, gap year, or entering the workforce. While it feels like “everyone” goes to college, the current data tells us about 67% of high school graduates will enter college directly. We also know that of that set, only 60% will graduate in 6 years or less. From that, we can infer that many of the students who entered college directly may have been more successful in taking a different approach:
If 1000 students graduate high school, 330 do not head to college while 670 do.
Of those 670 who start college, 402 graduate in 6 years or less, while 268 do not graduate college ever. The simple math tells us that of the initial 1000 high school graduates, only 402 follow the direct timeline from high school graduation to college graduation. That leaves the majority of -598 students- in different categories. This set had a different exit strategy or changed strategy at some point in the six years after high school graduation. National Center for Educational Statistics
As you consider exit strategies for your teen, remember that one size does not fit all. For teens not heading directly into college following high school graduation or choosing a different path, standardized exams are probably unnecessary.
2. Target Colleges
If your teen has a few target colleges picked out, simply visit the college’s website to see if and which exam(s) they prefer. (Try looking in their “Admissions” tab.) If your teen doesn’t have target colleges picked out, read on…
There is a growing trend away from requiring ACT/SAT exams for admission. You might be surprised to know that The National Center for Fair and Open Testing maintains a database of over 900 bachelor-degree-granting-colleges that do not require standardized exams for admission, are “test-optional” or “test flexible.” See the full list. In addition to the bachelor’s degree colleges above, there are 1,200 community colleges in the United States, most of which provide open enrollment admission – that is to say admission is granted without test score benchmarks. In most cases, colleges use a placement tool (Accuplacer and Compass) to determine the level for placement, not whether or not you can earn admission.
Since not all students graduate high school ready for 100 level college courses, the community college provides the courses necessary to meet that deficiency instead of denying admission.
Two advantages of taking a placement exam at your community college over traditional standardized tests are (a) students can schedule it whenever they want – even into adulthood, and (b) typically there is little or no cost.
For colleges that require SAT or ACT exams for admission, you may find that this only applies to freshman applications. For students entering college after military service, after mission service, after earning an associate’s degree, as a transfer student, or those over the age of 21, the SAT/ACT exam requirement is typically removed.
Standardized exams require advanced scheduling and travel to a testing center. In short, homeschooling families that spend a lot of time traveling, stationed overseas, or other location-based limitations will have to take that into account.
4. Strengths and Weaknesses
The purpose of a standardized exam is for your son or daughter to demonstrate their candidacy to a specific college. As such, you’ll want to take stock of their strengths and weaknesses when choosing the right exam rather than trying to score well on both exams. Remember, both ACT and SAT have undergone changes over the past few years, so be sure your teen is using current study material as they prepare. Since the last SAT revision, the differences between the Reading, English, and Math sections are very minor. The significant distinction is that the ACT includes science, while the SAT does not.
If your teen’s strengths are in athletics, music, ministry, or if they have weaknesses that interfere with strong testing ability, the standardized test may not be the right choice for your family. While it’s true that some teens will be required to take a standardized test to pursue specific colleges, creative and resourceful parents should not be intimidated or fall to peer pressure that may not be in the best interest of their family.
The College Board has made some important announcements for those of you planning to take the SAT or CLEP 2020 and hoping for an at-home option. Continue reading “SAT & CLEP from Home? Not in 2020.”
Parents of teens earning college credit in high school may be shocked to find that many exams require identification. For those with a driver’s license, that’s usually enough, but many of you have teens without a driver’s license. What can they do?
You’ll find some very different policies regarding the acceptable forms of ID based on the test your teen is taking. I’ve done my best to collect the most current information from the more popular exams we talk about here, but know that companies can change their requirements at any time! Please, allow yourself enough time to confirm and also obtain acceptable ID for your teen.
CLEP (College Board)
Identification: Your driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued identification that includes your photograph and signature. You will be asked to show this identification to be admitted to the testing area. The last name on your ID must match the name on your registration ticket. The ID you bring must meet the following criteria:
- Be government-issued.
- Be an original document—photocopied documents are not acceptable.
- Be valid and current—expired documents (bearing expiration dates that have passed) are not acceptable, no matter how recently they may have expired.
- Bear the test taker’s full name, in English language characters, exactly as it appears on the registration ticket, including the order of the names.
- Middle initials are optional and only need to match the first letter of the middle name when present on both the ticket and the identification.
- Bear a recent recognizable photograph that clearly matches the test taker.
- Include the test taker’s signature.
- Be in good condition with clearly legible text and a clearly visible photograph.
- Military test takers must bring their military ID.
- Homeschooled students and high school students: If you do not have the required government-issued ID, please complete a Student ID Form (.pdf/55 KB) which is valid for one year. The form must be accompanied by a recognizable photo with a school or notary seal overlapping the photo. The form must be signed in front of a school official or notary. If you fail to present appropriate identification, you will not be tested.
- Examples of other types of acceptable indentification include:
- Government-issued passport with name, photograph and signature
- Driver’s license with name, photograph, and signature
- State or Province ID issued by the motor vehicle agency with name, photograph, and signature
- Military ID with name, photograph, and electronic signature
- National ID with name, photograph, and signature
- Tribal ID card with name, photograph, and signature
- A naturalization card or certificate of citizenship with name, photograph, and signature
- A Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) with name, photograph, and signature
- Source link
SAT & AP (College Board)
Note: AP Students taking AP exams at their high school do not need identification. More information about AP exams: AP Bulletin for Parents
Test center staff will compare the information on your Admission Ticket and your photo ID with the test center roster to confirm your registration and identity. You cannot be admitted to the test center if any of the information does not match. This includes the use of a nickname on one item but your full name on another. Source link
The staff is not required to hold your seat if you did not bring acceptable identification.
ID documents must meet all of these requirements:
- Be a valid (unexpired) photo ID that is government-issued or issued by the school that you currently attend. School IDs from the prior school year are valid through December of the current calendar year. (For example, school IDs from 2015-16 can be used through December 31, 2016.)
- Be an original, physical document (not photocopied or electronic).
- Bear your full, legal name exactly as it appears on your Admission Ticket, including the order of the names.
- Bear a recent recognizable photograph that clearly matches both your appearance on test day and the photo on your Admission Ticket.
- Be in good condition, with clearly legible English language text and a clearly visible photograph.
Note: Not all of these requirements apply to Talent Search identification documents used by students who are in the eighth grade or below at the time of testing; however, Talent Search identification forms must bear an original student/parent signature.
Check Your ID—Every Time
Even if an ID got you into a test center before, it does not guarantee it will be acceptable in the future.
Acceptable ID Examples:
- Government-issued driver’s license or non-driver ID card
- Official school-produced student ID card from the school you currently attend
- Government-issued passport
- Government-issued military or national identification card
- Talent Search Identification Forms (allowed for eighth grade and below)
- SAT Student ID Form (.pdf/490KB); must be prepared by the school you currently attend or a notary, if home-schooled
Unacceptable ID Examples:
- Any document that does not meet the requirements
- Any document that is worn, torn, scuffed, scarred, or otherwise damaged
- Electronic document presented on a device
- Any document that appears tampered with or digitally altered
- Any document that bears a statement such as “not valid as identification”
- Credit or debit card of any kind, even one with a photograph
- Birth certificate
- Social Security card
- Employee ID card
- Missing Child (“ChildFind”) ID card
- Any temporary ID card
More About Names
If you need to make a change to your name after registering, please contact Customer Service at least 30 days prior to your intended test date. Middle names and initials are optional on your documents; however, if provided, the middle initial must exactly match the first letter of your middle name on your ID.
More About Photos
You may not be allowed to enter the test center, let alone take the test, if test center staff cannot sufficiently authenticate your identification from the ID you present. Your score may even be withheld or canceled.
Admission to the test center is no guarantee that the ID you provided is valid or that your scores will be reported. All reported or suspected cases of questionable ID or test-taker identity are subject to our review and approval before, during, and after the test administration.
ID Requirements Apply All Day
You should keep your ID and Admission Ticket with you at all times while at the test center, including during breaks. You may be required to show your ID and Admission Ticket and/or to sign a test center log multiple times and at various points throughout the test administration.
If it is discovered after your test administration that you used a false or invalid identification, your test scores will be canceled, and you will forfeit your registration and test fees. Your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) (if you are under 18), your high school, and the colleges and programs you have designated to receive your score reports will be notified and may be told why your scores were canceled. Law enforcement authorities may also be notified when fraud is suspected, and you may be banned from future tests.
If you fail to comply with these identification requirements and policies, you may be dismissed from the test center and your scores may be withheld or canceled. If you are dismissed from the test center prior to completing the test because of invalid or unacceptable ID, or failure to comply with these ID requirements and policies, your test fees will not be refunded.
If You Do Not Have Acceptable ID
If you do not have another form of acceptable ID you may be able to use the Student ID Form (.pdf/490KB). This form must be prepared and authenticated by the school you currently attend or by a notary if you are home-schooled. A current photo must be attached to the form in the area indicated before the form is notarized. This form is only valid as ID if you are testing in the United States and for test-takers under 21 years of age.
If You Are Waitlisted
In countries where waitlist status is used, you must present an acceptable school- or government-issued photo ID that has been issued in the country in which you are testing. Foreign passports, foreign national IDs, or IDs from foreign schools will not be accepted.
If You Are 21 or Older
If you will be 21 or older on test day, the only acceptable form of identification is an official government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, that meets all of the requirements above. Student ID cards are not valid forms of identification for test-takers who are 21 or older.
Testing in India, Ghana, Nepal, Nigeria, and Pakistan
The only acceptable form of identification is a valid passport with your name, photograph, and signature. There are no exceptions to this policy.
Testing in Egypt, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam
A valid passport or valid national ID card with your name, photograph, and signature are the only acceptable forms of ID. If you travel to another country to test, you must provide a passport as identification. There are no exceptions to this policy.
Q.4 What form of ID should I bring to the testing location when I take a DSST exam?
A. Prior to the test administration, all test takers must present current and valid picture identification such as a driver’s license, passport, or picture student identification. DANTES funded eligible military test takers must provide a valid Common Access Card (CAC). Only test takers should be permitted into the testing room. Unauthorized visitors are not permitted in the testing room at any time. Source link
Straighterline (Proctor U*)
Proctor U is the 3rd party online proctoring system currently used by Straighterline. Proctor U’s website: Always have your ID ready before connecting to a proctor. If you are unsure of what identification is needed for your exam, please reach out to your instructor for clarification. In some instances, a second ID may be required. This includes a school ID or passport. Source link
Straighterline’s Proctoring Page: Source link
Two forms of IDs, one of which must be a government-issued photo ID, as proof of identification. Valid forms of government identification are as follows:
- U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card
- Driver’s license or ID card issued by a State provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address
- ID card issued by federal, state or local government agencies or entities, provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address
- U.S. Military card
- Foreign passport
OPTION 1 – Proctor U*
Proctor U is the 3rd party online proctoring system currently used by Saylor Academy. Proctor U’s website: Always have your ID ready before connecting to a proctor. If you are unsure of what identification is needed for your exam, please reach out to your instructor for clarification. In some instances, a second ID may be required. This includes a school ID or passport.
Saylor’s website: When it is time for you to take your test, log in to ProctorU and press the blue button under the “My Exam” tab to launch your proctoring session. To verify your identity, your Proctor will ask you to use a webcam to show a form of identification, and then answer a number of questions based on public record information. If you live outside of the United States, ProctorU will not have access to public record information, and you will instead be asked to show a second form of ID.
OPTION 2 – Private Proctor
Detailed information is not provided for this option. While the proctoring instructions do state that the proctor must “Verify student identification prior to entering the testing area” there are no further instructions. My recommendation is to contact Saylor Academy well in advance for clarification. Saylor Academy Help Center.
Study.com (Software Secure)
Study uses Software Secure AKA Remote Proctor Now as the third party proctoring service. Study’s proctored exam instructions simply state a student must provide “a photo ID.” Source link
*Proctor U : While not disclosed on any the websites I visited, Proctor U has the ability to use a process called Acxiom-X identifiers. These identifiers could require your student to answer a number of “unique” questions that they should know about themselves. The best resource I found identified potential 115 questions in their question bank. Acxiom’s website states
“The Acxiom Identify-X Authenticate process uses unique data generated questions to identify an individual and then verifies these individuals through our high-quality database, offering greater security to the end user.
Acxiom’s identification platform utilizes demographic and geographic data in challenge questions with nearly 900 data elements for more than 300 million individuals. Identify-X Authenticate data comes from public, publicly available and non-public proprietary databases. Identify-X Authenticate data is current and regularly updated daily, weekly and monthly, depending upon the data source.”
Obviously not all of these would apply- but examples of possible Acxiom questions that could be asked during identification verification when using Proctor U include:
- Based on your driver’s license do you wear corrective lenses?
- What professional licenses do you hold?
- What subdivision do you currently reside in?
- What state does your relative Joe live in?
- How many fireplaces did you have in your last residence?