Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by pygmalion, Dec 21, 2010.
You say that like I know anything about football. Not so much. lol.
I guess I should clarify this, because it sounds extreme.
Most kids were eight when they started third grade in August. DS was an outlier because he stayed in lower Montessori an extra year. He had just turned nine when he entered third grade, because his birthday is in June.
DS's best bud, the seven year old, came from a school district in another state that had different cutoff dates. (Jan 1 versus June IIRC.) He turned eight that December.
The ten year old had been red-shirted in kindergarten and later had to repeat third grade because of illness. In Texas, by state law, if you miss more than 10% of school days, you must repeat the grade regardless of how good your grades are. That ten-year old was absolutely brilliant. He just had the misfortune of getting sick the first time he did third grade.
Anyway, at the end of the day, DS started his third grade year with kids at an age spread of roughly two and a half years.
Sounds like a plan.
Just want to check in and say thank you to all for your contributions to this thought-provoking conversation over the past few days. I didn't even ask a question, and I got so much useful. helpful information. I appreciate everyone's contributions.
Especially because I'm a custodial-parent single Mom, it can be very difficult to navigate these things sometimes. DS trusts me completely and is very wary of his Dad. So most decisions fall squarely on my shoulders, because I'm the person with the most influence over DS.
I appreciate your input more than I can say. Thanks to all of you.
I realize I'm probably asking this question of the wrong group of people, but does anybody have thoughts on what works in terms of SAT/ACT prep?
I honestly don't remember prepping for the SAT myself, back when I took it (a billion years ago.) I just got up one Saturday morning and took the test. I aced the English and got two wrong on the math. But I've always been a whiz at taking standardized tests. *shrug*
Problems: 1) It's a completely different test now than it was then. and 2) Did I mention that I took it a billion years ago?
Any thoughts on the efficacy of those SAT prep courses (like the ones offered by Sylvan Learning Center, the Princeton Review, etc.)
As much as I don't want to be a thorn in DS's side, I'm thinking that it's not too early to start.
Oh yeah and one more thing for singndance. Another recruiting memory popped into my head.
The company I worked for had a very specific, pretty short list of schools it recruited from. They had defined their own list of tier one and tier two schools. The list was not the same as you'd see in a list of top schools in Peterson's Guide. It was a prioritized list of schools that matched the disciplines/skill sets/demographic profile that that company was looking for. For example, since that company was in hot water because of lack of diversity in leadership, there were a few schools that were not on par with an MIT or a Stanford, but that we considered tier one because we were trying to create a feeder pool of women and minorities who could grow into leadership roles.
For tier one schools, we had relationships with the counseling/placement offices at the school, we did site visits, attended career fairs, etc. Our relationship with tier two schools was similar, but not quite as laser focused.
For tier three and below (by that company's definition) we spent ZERO recruiting effort or dollars. Kids from those schools had to come find us. This doesn't mean that a good candidate from a non top tier school couldn't get hired, but we didn't go looking for them. We channeled our resources to the schools that we thought would be the best match for what we wanted.
I say all this to say that, depending on what school your baby boy is from, he may have to take a more aggressive stance to get himself noticed by some of the bigger companies.
There is a number places in every school. The fact that students apply to more schools doesn't change the number of places, and they can't go to more than one school at a time. The only way kids get shut out is if there are fewer places or more kids.
How many years ahead is the SAT? (and what is the SAT...something similar to final exams?)
IMO, and assuming it's something like final exams, the best thing to do is make sure your familiar with all of the class material...for me, that means turning up to classes and listening. For some other people, that means studying for months beforehand.
I would say find some review sheets for the subjects DS finds easiest...do some practise exams to see what he needs to work on most. For the ones he finds difficult, maybe a seminar or a prep session is a great idea.
The frenzy to get into a good school is symptomatic of larger problems in the economy. Once upon a time, most kids did NOT go to college. The girls got married, the boys got factory jobs, and a few smartypants went to college. The manufacturing jobs went away. The girls rightly took advantage of expanding opportunities. Technology has increased productivity immensely so you don't, for example, need a room full of accountants to close the books at the end of the month. We are in a situation where there is sufficient productivity to sustain everybody, but not enough work to go around, and a few are keeping the benefits of that increased productivity for themselves.
Until the wealthiest few figure out that their buddies don't spend enough to keep their businesses going in the long term, we will see this cycle continue.
I think the admissions counselors' point was that there are only a certain number of acceptances that they can offer, and the really stellar kids are being offered those places at a greater number of institutions. So the colleges have to wait until those stellar kids getting 10+ acceptance letters make their final choice before they can offer spots to those on their wait lists. The best kids have a wide variety of choices, leaving the rest to wait it out. And they told me that some kids that would have been shoo-ins for acceptance several years ago will not make it onto the wait list today because they have seen such an increase in good quality applicants.
The oldest kid took a course at his private high school the summer before he took the SAT. He told me it was a reasonable course and that he was glad he took it. The second kid took the same course at the same school, struggled with it, and told me it was a complete waste of time. He was not a book kid, he ended up going into the Army special forces, so that's a whole different thing. The third kid took a course at his public high school the semester before he took the SAT, and reported that it was a complete waste of time. There were too many kids in the class who really weren't serious about it and were disruptive. The fourth kid signed up for a semi-private tutoring session that was about eight weeks. He moaned about it, but admitted that it was worth it. I can't comment on the offerings from the chain tutoring companies, only that some of my friends' kids took them and it was a mixed bag, depending on the kid and level of motivation.
Times have changed, as you say. I just showed up one Saturday with my pencils and slide rule and took the test. One shot, that was it. Not so today. It is dog eat dog.
And P, definitely have him take both the SAT and the ACT. My youngest aced that ACT Science section, and it increased his score dramatically.
People can take the SAT (which is a fairly comprehensive standardized exam) whenever they want, but most people take it during their junior year in high school. (11th year in Australia?) because much of the content of the test is covered in the coursework that most kids take during their freshman and sophomore years.
Most colleges and universities require the SAT and/or ACT exams before college as one more measure of college readiness. Whether the tests are an accurate measure or not is up for debate, but most post -secondary schools require them.
These tests are separate from final exams, which are aimed at certifying a kid has learned enough to graduate high school. Only some school systems in the US have have final exams. Some places call them "exit exams," btw, and they are very controversial. There was a story on NPR a couple months back about a kid (in Alabama, I think?) who was forced to repeat a math class three times despite good grades, because he failed the exit exam by a few points each time. (I don't remember all the details. I'll have to google to flesh out my memory.)
It goes back what ccm referenced a page or so back about NCLB -- an education initiative that was intended to improve the quality of education provided in US public schools, but which IMHO has had mixed results and some unintended consequences.
Short answer? Roughly two years til the real deal, with a couple of practice opportunities between now and then.
This is an increasingly common strategy, and was very much recommended by the excellent high school guidance counselor in the book I recommended upthread.
I polled my first year composition class, and quite a heavy percentage had taken both.
One other item to toss in the mix, though: an increasing number of schools are going SAT optional. It might be good to have some choices from that list in your back pocket, just in case standardized test scores don't highlight your student's strengths.
Couldn't find that story on NPR (I'm a googler and their search engine doesn't think like google lol) but the two-second summary is that some kids are getting hurt by the exit exams that many states require. Even if the kids can do the course work and get decent grades, some kids are caught in a loop of failure because of intractable standardized test requirements. *sigh*
While I was searching for that on NPR, I found this article that was posted on Thursday. Dartmouth is no longer going to accept high school AP classes for college credit. Hmm.
The thing I found most helpful prior to taking the SAT and later the GRE was to do full length practice tests, TIMED.
A. There is definitely a kind of SAT-think that may not be how people think on a day-to-day basis. I remember a specific example of this from when my best friend and I were studying for the SAT analogy section (which apparently they don't have any more on the SAT, though they do on the SCAT, which Child had to take to get into her fun academic summer camp).
BEST FRIEND: There are certain kind of relationships that show up all the time on the SAT. Like if it could be part is to whole, it probably is.
ME: The problem is that sometimes the only word I'm unsure of is in the initial pair, so it's hard for me to decide which other pair is closest to it. I wish they had things like red is to black as...
BEST FRIEND (interrupting): How is red to black?
ME: They are opposites, on the checkerboard.
BEST FRIEND: Interesting. Most people would say white is the opposite of black. For the purposes of this exercise, you need to think more like other people. No being creative. You can go back to being creative the day after the test.
By the time I took the actual SAT, I had trained myself to think more like the test maker and less outside the box. Outside the box is fabulous when you are writing a scholarly paper and trying to come up with an innovative interpretation. Not good on the SAT.
2) Back when I took the GRE, there were three sections on the general exam: English, Math, Logic. (I'm told the logic has gone away.) I wound up acing the logic (got an 800!), but the first time I took a timed practice, I only got halfway through. So that told me something important!
The logic test were all these puzzles, like
"Pygmalion needs to visit seven businesses this week. She can visit no more than two in each day. She needs to visit Business C before she can visit Business D, and Business D before she can visit Business A. Business D is closed on Tuesday, and Business E is so far from the others that it needs to be the only business she visits on that day. Which of the following schedules can Pygmalion do?"
In other words, they were all puzzles that given infinite time, almost anyone logical could solve, but you had to do 25 in 30 minutes, IIRC. So for me, a key part of my prep was figuring out how to grind through the problems expeditiously.
This. There is a certain mindset to these tests. You could easily know all of the source material and still fail the test, if you don't have that mindset. I loved the analogy section of the SAT but I remember thinking at the time that many of the analogies required that you know an obscure definition of a word and/or buy into a certain shade of meaning. Once I understood how the test writer liked to use words, the analogies were a snap, because the test used words in a similar way pretty consistently.
Just FTR this is not a logic puzzle. This is my life, sister! lol
And you've lived in Texas how long?
Long enough to know how to avoid any of the in-depth technical football conversations that float around me constantly. Allowing my eyes to glaze over usually works.
I'm thinking that by the time my (yet unborn) grandkids graduate from high school, their options for education outside of this system will be radically improved. From a certain vantage point, our current educational system is utterly archaic -- like analog vs high-speed digital. There's no way it can keep up with rapid change, and with the rapid learning ability of minds that aren't forcibly slowed down by the bureaucratic red tape we put our kids through, in the name of learning. It's inefficient WRT both learning and measuring or demonstrating the value of what people know, though it's great for group indoctrination and controlling the criteria for entry to certain "clubs" and their correlating bragging rights (such as the Ivys). And the cost of "an education" has now surpassed Ridiculous threshold.
Online and independent learning, testing and certification services are going to sky-rocket in the next decade. That's the way for students to learn cost-efficiently, and to develop levels of demonstrated useable and/or rarefied knowledge far more quickly than the current system allows.
This whole SAT/grade-stress/college-entry/post-grad strategizing approach is going to go the way of the dinosaurs...at least for those who are willing to let go of tradition in lieu of an approach that wastes far less time, energy, money and lifeforce.
I can imagine two generations from now, kids will laugh when they hear of all this that causes so much angst and costs so much in time, money & stress. Or at least, I'm hopeful...
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