The curve is on the rise in NC, so I feel as if it is time for a quick update. SMW Unlimited is still closed until stage three of the reopening plan in NC is initiated. I am starting to receive more and more inquiries about my ACT Prep services, so I wanted to send out a quick post about where I think this crazy COVID-19 testing world is heading. Simply put, if the testing industry has its way, testing will eventually go online. However, if higher education steps in now and calls an end to utilizing big testing in admissions then the testing industry might be forced to completely retool (my biased preference). Any of you that know me know that I am not a huge fan of high stakes testing. Ironically, I do indeed offer test prep for students. I specialize in the ACT. I am good at helping students slay this beast, but I would much rather be educating them. I will be ecstatic the day these tests simply go away.
In all honesty, I am hesitant to take on new test prep students at this time (or to encourage paid test prep in general) because the ACT’s testing centers are not running in a predictable manner. I highly encourage all students to get test prep materials off of Amazon and to read up on the tests and attempt some practice problems to keep their skills honed and their minds fresh, but I do not suggest paying coaches at this time-too much is changing, too quickly.
I am not able to predict right now if schools will even give a pre-ACT to sophomores this year. Then there is the layered relevance that many schools are waving ACT scores for the admission cycle for this year (2020-2021), and that they are moving forward with reevaluating how they will utilize these big tests in future admissions. Duke recently issued a press release stating just this, and it is revolutionary. Over the last couple of years, several smaller liberal arts schools have already made their admissions process test free (run a simple Google search to find them). It is extraordinary that a process I thought would take us another 10 to 15 years (phasing out high stakes testing) is happening now. I hope the trend continues.
So, what does that mean for you and your student? I think now is a good time to wait and see. The best practice your student can embrace to be prepared for college is to read anything and everything, follow their passions (computers, gaming code, horticulture, animal husbandry, arts, music, architecture, anything that brings them joy), complete logic puzzles, and practice math using Khan Academy to fill in the gaps. The rest will take care of itself.
I will be here to help when the chips fall and when higher education and the testing industry have found a way forward. I will resume tutoring, supporting home learners, facilitating education, and hosting (safe, distanced, and responsible) workshops for all learners, once NC hits phase three and it is safe to reopen.
Be safe and stay smart!