TurnadoAlee157 karma2019-11-23 14:28:48 UTC
Yes and no. The test prep industry has been part of the extreme shifting of the median test scores which then feeds into more people needing prep in order to compete.. the industry solves the problem it creates in that way. But, the testing itself could be - all things equal - a great tool.
I was an 8th grade drop out / teen mom.. I ended up getting my GED (that test changed my future).. that got me into college but I was also a single mom and wasn't able to keep my grades perfect with 3 part time jobs and a child to tend to... (I had good grades but not good enough to do what I wanted to do which was go to law school... and of course I didn't have money so it needed to be on full scholarship... so here you have this student, no HS degree, spotty attendance and a few C's on the resume, went to a local state school, no super special letters of recommendation.. and she's applying to law school where students went to Harvard for undergrad, and have Governor's as recommenders, and perfectt 4.0 GPA's... how does someone show that they are just as talented or even more? the test. The LSAT was the second test that changed my life because I got into law school on full scholarship.
So I think the tests themselves can be valuable tools and especially for students whose life situation may not have given them the opportunity to adequately highlight their talents... but yea, what do we do when people are spending 35k (I had one family do this for their son to pass the MCAT for med school) and other kids are having to use whatever books are free at the library?
I don't know how to fix it but so long as their are folks who want to use these tests to show what they can do and need help to be ready to do that - I'll be doing that and we'll be doing that for free so that anyone can keep up.
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TurnadoAlee54 karma2019-11-23 14:37:38 UTC
we don't; wish us luck. (we are considering ways to monetize via advertisers - annoying but effective? we are considering pursuing non-profit status)... we moved really quickly and sped up our opening bc of the testing scandal (with Felicity Huffman) b/c it's very rare that people on a large scale (this is the first time I've seen it) discuss the unfair practices involved in getting into school so we were hoping that attention might help people better understand what we're doing. For the future? When the money runs out? I dunno.
We collect hits through a analytic tracker nothing too deep just location in the world and what pages on the site they visited. When students enroll in classes we collect their email b/c that's where their class ticket is sent to. We do not sell or share this inforrmation in anyway and I believe to date we've only used the entire email list we have for 3 student/past student wide emails. The most recent being to let everyone know we added free essay grading.
We do not knowingly collect any data from children under age 13, we also do not allow any students under 18 (ACT SAT scholarship students) to accept their scholarship except through their parents.
I am actually a proponent of entrance exams for reasons I discussed on other threads but in short b/c it can be an opportunity to show that all things equal you are just as good as any other applicant who came from any school or did any cool experience, etc. However, all things aren't equal - so that's where I focus my effort.
TurnadoAlee41 karma2019-11-23 14:50:04 UTC
I suppose you're right. I do hope to make money again one day.. some day.. so I don't say volunteer quite yet. I cashed in my retirement accounts, my 401k, my HSA... and my husband was a stay-at-home parent before I made this move and I was the main income earner and he went back to work. He's very supportive and he had wanted me to pursue this for a long time... (because I had talked about it for a long time)
TurnadoAlee33 karma2019-11-23 16:29:29 UTC
That's great - replace it with something better I'd welcome the end of this industry b/c talented students are all getting the opportunities they deserve...
but until that time people need help and they're being denied it for numerous reasons.. and so here we are.
I believe in education as a right and I hope we do find better, ultimately.
TurnadoAlee28 karma2019-11-23 15:28:34 UTC
It isn't just instruction, unfortunately. It's also practice items. The test is not just math, say - it's also about reasoning with the math and the test asks the questions in certain ways.. and you should be prepared for that too.. but to get in-format practice questions and practice tests and teachers who can show you the unique way the material will be questioned all costs $. Luckily the testmakers are partnering with companies like Khan Academy to provide free videos and practice items so that students can get that "prep.." the only thing that the big box $$$ test prep companies continue to have that students cannot access on their own for free is live instruction, essay grading, and tutoring... and I promise you I've sat in meeting after meeting where live instruction especially was held up as the one thing that would never be available and the one reason why people would continue to need to pay $$$ for this stuff... and so.. here I am doing what I do. And studies have shown that live instruction for test prep does lead to higher scores.
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