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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

PSAE Test Prep Strategies that Work

It is crunch time in Illinois high schools. The PSAE looms. I’m going to dedicate a few posts this week to preparing for the PSAE Reading Test. I have an excellent track record in this regard. I advocate a comprehensive program that transcends the typical test prep regiment. However, I realize that we are in crunch time so I will dedicate some entries to a proven approach to the PSAE Reading Test. I am not a test prep company. I do know what works and what does not work.

I am aware that many schools outsource their test prep efforts to companies that promise to deliver, but charge upfront. The success of any test prep program rests on student buy-in. Kids who have been raised to compete academically will buy-in automatically. Children of parents who pay for test prep courses are more apt to buy-in than kids at low achieving schools.

Test prep representatives are quick to point out that their approaches raise test scores. This allows them an easy out when scores don’t go up at a particular school. They can argue that students didn’t implement the approach correctly. If the company is operating from the train the trainer model and has actual public school teachers implement the test prep material then they can blame those classroom teachers for failing to correctly implement the program. When questioned about their products apparent failure, the company will claim that the fault falls on the teachers whom either resisted the program or failed to implement it correctly. The company will stake this claim on the fact that mountains of data demonstrate the effectiveness of their product. Of course, the mountains of data that the company stakes its reputation to are based on the achievement of students whose upper middle class parents paid big dollars to enroll them test prep classes taught by test prep instructors. In a nutshell, their data is culled from a population and a setting that has little in common with your school.

Times change, but part of the sales pitch to inner city schools is predicated on the data generated by the students in the upwardly mobile set. Ask for a client list and check school report cards to see if their clients have improved beyond the rate of the district. Note, it is particularly difficult to secure a complete client list from these companies, so good luck.


Take a look at my test prep posts. They are free, and they have worked with city kids. If you have any questions drop me a comment. All comments are posted to my email first. I will never post any email addresses in the comment section. So if you want to contact me, drop me your email and I’ll get back with you. It is my hope that my expertise in this field will help someone out there. Let me know.

Posts Concerning Test Prep

Quick and Dirty Guide to Raising PSAE Scores
PSAE Test Prep Strategies that Work
ACT Reading Prep and the Two-Point Conversion
Maximizing Brain Power on the ACT Reading Test
Realizing Focused Active Reading During the ACT

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