Testing from a College Perspective

[Thanks to Teach Paperless and his post on testing being over for providing me inspiration to write this post.]

Today, I attended a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) College Fair in south Minneapolis. It was hosted by a small church and the basement of this church was packed with tables and people, on both sides. It was awesome. Hundreds of young people and parents looking into higher education.

I stood out for many reasons. The main reason: I didn't have a high school age person with me. That, and I teach middle school.

So I gathered up as many brochures as possible. I also talked to 5 or so representatives from various schools. I asked one simple question: What advice would you give to middle school students?

  • Look at college. Start thinking early.
  • Look at majors and find out what you are interested in.
  • Prepare for the PSAT/SAT.
  • Take the ACT in your freshman year so that you can keep taking to get a good score.
  • Take a SAT/ACT prep class.
  • Meet with your guidance counselor to see what help there is for ACT/SAT prep.
I wish I had videotaped it. Are the ACT and SAT tests really that important still? Students should start this process in their freshman year?

I guess I was blown away. The focus on testing that I heard today was amazing. Perhaps my focus on projects and movement away from testing in my classroom is misguided.

Okay, high school and undergrad people, tell me what's going on. Are the ACT and SAT still a huge factor in college admissions? Should I be doing more with this in middle school?


  1. I wouldn't worry so much about the emphasis on the college entrance tests. If you keep doing what you're doing, your students will just need to show up for the tests and they will do well.

  2. Thanks Dan!

    I was just surprised that so many different colleges said the same thing.

    Even more surprising was the things that weren't mentioned: join a club, get into National Honor Society, volunteer, take IB classes, play a sport, be in a play.

    I'm trying to create educated citizens and these colleges were most concerned about a test.

    Just interesting and odd.


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