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Preparing for the Math Portion of the 2015 ACT®

Our team of developers here at Math-U-See has looked into the ACT test and is prepared to answer some commonly-asked questions.

One of our recent blog posts shared information about the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT®), which is being significantly revised for the 2015-2016 school year. As a result, we have been asked about the American College Test (ACT), another popular exam taken by many high school students. Our team of developers here at Math-U-See has looked into the test and is prepared to answer some commonly-asked questions.

“Is the ACT also changing?”

ACT, Inc., the company producing the exam, specifically states on their website, “We have no plans to make major changes, as we don’t see any need for that. Our goal is continuous improvement, and we are planning some modifications to better meet the needs of students and schools.” (Source) Thus, there will be no significant changes to the student’s test-taking experience, with administration, timing, and scoring remaining essentially the same. However, there are a few modifications that will appear on the test, beginning in the fall of 2015.
• The math test will contain some additional questions related to probability and statistics.
• Four new reporting categories will be added. Two of these relate to English Language Arts, and two relate to math: a STEM score, which summarizes overall performance in math and science, and a Progress Toward Career Readiness Indicator, which shows how well a student is prepared to enter a career field.
• Test centers will soon be offering an online option for the exam. Selected locations will offer the online test in the fall of 2015, with plans to make it fully available in the spring of 2016.
• An additional 30-minute math test will be available for those who want to purchase it. Instead of responding to multiple-choice questions, students will be able to offer written explanations as solutions for math problems. The score from this math test will be combined with the score from the regular multiple-choice exam to provide an overall picture of the student’s readiness for college math.

“What can I do to help my student prepare?”

• Learning as much as possible will continue to be essential for success on the new ACT. Be sure your student thoroughly masters the material and completes all the Honors pages in your curriculum.
• When your student completes a page in the Student Book, don’t just mark the answers right or wrong. Take the time to go over problems that are solved incorrectly to help make sure your student understands the concepts.
• Be sure to use precise mathematical vocabulary so that it will be familiar to your student when he sees it on the test.
• Probability and statistics appear primarily in the Math-U-See Zeta course (2012 edition), which you may wish to review in preparation for testing. You should also take note when statistical information appears in other areas and be sure to discuss it with your student.

In summary, ACT, Inc., states on their website:

(T)he best preparation for The ACT has been and will continue to be taking rigorous courses in English, math, social studies, and science. Because The ACT is a curriculum-based test, the best way students can prepare for the test is to take challenging courses in high school and study hard. Students can also maximize their performance on The ACT by taking practice tests so they know what to expect on the exam and by relaxing and doing their best.

“Where can I get more information?”

Once again, you should go directly to the ACT website. If you have questions specific to the Math-U-See program, you can contact our knowledgeable and experienced staff. Math-U-See continues to support educators as they prepare their students to become lifelong learners.

Qualified Math-U-See experts have been selected to help walk you through your specific math problem.

About Jean Soyke

Jean Soyke is a certified elementary educator with specialties in math and curriculum development. She taught in both public and private schools before homeschooling her four children, grades K-12.

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