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charlestonpanic

ACT Aspire Testing

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charlestonpanic

I do not have my daughter (5th grade) tested by the state, however I would like to review the State's test.  Do you know where you can get a copy of a practice test or old test?  

 

Here is the link on the South Carolina State Department of Education website:

 

https://ed.sc.gov/agency/programs-services/214/

 

Thank you in advance for any help on this topic.  

 

Darci

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Dianna

Hi Darci,

 

When I googled "south carolina state released tests" I found several links that may be what you're looking for.

 

Warmly,
Dianna

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charlestonpanic

Thanks Dianna.  I found sample PASS tests, however not ACT.  It's a newer test in SC and is aligned with the ACT taken for college admittance.  I have am having a homeschooling mom "panic" moment.  We have chosen not to have Grace tested up to this point, however now that the state is offering a test aligned with ACT I am rethinking the choice.  I do want to make sure she is prepared to take a standard test like this for college admittance.  

 

Here is a good link explaining the South Carolina tests for any parents (or students) interested:

https://ed.sc.gov/agency/pi/act/

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Dianna

Okay, now that I know what your concern is, I (hopefully) can help you with your panic moment. I had many of those with my first, and fewer with my second, even fewer with my third, and so on...

 

If you plan for Grace to take the ACT or SAT, there are guides (Barrons, etc.) that go over every inch of it. They include instructional material for test procedures, what kinds of questions, how to approach the questions, test-taking strategies, etc. They also cover the information your student needs to know, with math instruction, writing tips, etc., etc., as well as practice tests. If students don't do well on a section of the practice tests, they'll be able to go to the math (or whatever) review section to learn the how to do the problems they missed.

 

This will prepare them for the content. The other thing they would need to prepare for is the test environment. To provide for the best test environment, I'd recommend choosing a test site at a local college. Students from all over the area test at colleges and Grace won't stand out as an "unknown" student. If she tests at a high school, she may feel like all the other students know each other and feel uncomfortable.

 

Then, plan to take the test twice - once to just get over the test environment jitters. If she scores high enough for state scholarships, call it a day and don't worry about it. If she doesn't, she can take it again and probably do better since she'll be more comfortable with the environment.

 

We place way, way too much importance on test scores. They're just a number to get students into college. Once they're in, their academic work is what's important. If they don't maintain a good grade point average, it won't matter what their ACT or SAT score was - they're going to lose that scholarship or get put on academic probation until they get their grades back up.

 

The schools spend 95% (or more) of their time worrying about test scores instead of learning, and it's resulted in US students scoring way below students in other countries. Here's an article I read yesterday that talks about this, and reaffirms my experience and philosophy that less is more... way, way more: http://fillingmymap.com/2015/04/15/11-ways-finlands-education-system-shows-us-that-less-is-more/

 

So stay the course... I've graduated three with full scholarships, and without testing every year, and with a relaxed, interest-led, meaningful learning approach. My fourth student is only 12, so we have a while to go yet with her, but I plan to stay the course.

 

My middle son just received his bachelor's degree (graduated magna cum laude) and received the college's Humanities award for his academic work and work in the college's library. (Students are nominated and voted on by faculty, and it's competitive... and he had no clue he was being considered for an award.)

 

He probably couldn't tell you today what is SAT score was. It was only a means to a goal - to qualify for scholarships, and is meaningless. It's just a number.

 

That award, however... now *that* means something. His degree means something. He was just accepted in a master's program to continue his studies in Cultural Studies (he wants to work in a museum or historical site due to his interest in history and culture).

 

Okay, off my soapbox now. I hope this helps.

 

Warmly,

Dianna

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Dianna

Oh, one more bit of advice - keep encouraging Grace to read and participate in the book groups. Nothing will prepare students better for the verbal/reading comprehension portions of the SAT or ACT than reading.

 

I know things are changing with the tests, but previously the guides gave long, long lists of vocabulary words for students to study and try to remember for the test. I recommend that students skip that entirely and just read. Incorporate reading into every aspect of learning, starting as young as you can. 

 

All of my children scored very high (way above the national average) on the verbal/reading portion of the SAT because they're readers. They didn't prepare for that part of the SAT at all (other than to learn about what types of questions they'd be asked on the SAT).

 

When I gave IQ tests in the schools (as a school psychologist), I could tell the readers from the non-readers. The readers scored higher because they had a wider background of knowledge. When you read, you learn all kinds of things in the background of the story - you can't help but learn it. And that's in addition to grammar, vocabulary, spelling, etc., that you automatically pick up.

 

Okay, stepping back down from my soapbox.

 

Warmly,

Dianna

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charlestonpanic

You totally took the knot out of my stomach!  Some moms of Grace's friends who attend school were talking about the tests and how they are aimed to help them on the ACT for college admittance.  I have felt strongly about not having her tested for the reasons you mentioned.  I don't teach to a test.  I teach to learn and live.  My goal is to provide her the tools to allow her to learn and study on her own.  I will stay my course and not falter!  We do a lot of free reading and I will encourage her to continue with the book club.  We got a little out of routine this year with our five week trip to Asia and then her breaking her collar bone this spring.  I appreciate your encouragement!  

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Dianna

And back to your original question - since this is a new test, it'll probably be a while before they publish old tests. But contact the SC DOE to see if they can help.

 

Warmly,

Dianna

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Dianna

I'm going to have to interview Grace about your trip to Asia - so cool! :)

 

Breaking her collarbone while skiing - not so cool! :(   Is it healed now?

 

If you start getting antsy about testing again, let me know. It's easier for me to overcome panic moments because I have several who have successfully graduated. When it was just the first one, I had many panic moments, and there were fewer homeschoolers then, so... yeah, I had plenty of those moments! ;)

 

Warmly,

Dianna

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charlestonpanic

Yes, our trip was amazing.  Visited four countries in five weeks and saw A LOT!  We were on the go!  Grace got certified to dive before going and we really enjoyed our underwater time in Indonesia!  Hands on Science!

 

She is on the mend.  She broke it racing in Colorado at Nationals.  She has had four x-rays.  We found out on the last one she does not need surgery and she got cleared to swim.  We hope her next X-ray in June clears her to do other sports.  

 

Thank you again!  Really appreciate the guidance and support!

 

Darci

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