The Official SAT Online Course Case Studies

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1 The Official SAT Online Course Case Studies The following case studies describe successful implementations of The Official SAT Online Course at a broad range of schools across the country. As these case studies illustrate, the course is not only powerful and easy to use, it is also extremely flexible. It is used as an independent study tool, a classroom teaching aid, a test-preparation resource, and a component of core curricular studies in English and mathematics. In short, the course lends itself to a wide range of implementations. How you choose to implement it will depend on the needs, resources, and goals of your own school, your own staff, and your own students. Best Practices These case studies also illustrate a number of best practices that have proven useful under a wide variety of circumstances: Ensure access. Even if your school has a limited number of computers, try to ensure that students who lack home computers can regularly access the course whether that means rotating student access to classroom computers or simply encouraging students to sign up for time in your school s computer lab or media center. Provide structure. While the course is an ideal independent study tool, students often benefit from structure. Assigning specific course exercises, setting deadlines, and giving grades can all help motivate and focus students use of the course. Defuse test day anxiety. Take advantage of the course s timed practice tests to give students a taste of what test day will be like. You can even assign segments of the tests, or individual essay prompts, under timed conditions. Students will be less anxious, and more confident, when they face the real thing. Be flexible. Several of the schools featured in these case studies began by using the course in one way (e.g., as an independent study tool), only to expand their implementations in order to take advantage of its many other uses (e.g., as a supplement to formal math and English curricula). As these case studies demonstrate, the course has a great deal to offer; by remaining open to new ways of using it, you too can best take advantage of its rich resources. Enlist parents as allies. Many students access the course from home. As a result, parents can be powerful advocates for encouraging its use. Reach out to parents through mailings, newsletters, and informational sessions. The more parents know about the course, the more effectively they can promote it. Advertise, advertise, advertise. There are many ways to promote the course, from posting flyers on classroom walls to placing registration instructions on your school website. Use as many as you can. According to an administrator in the Spring Independent School District, Texas, We really promote it, and we really feel that it s getting used a lot. Students and parents all love it. Learning from One Another The schools in these case studies range from urban to rural and large to small. At some, computers are widely available. At others, computer access is limited. In each case, educators have tailored the course to suit their particular circumstances and to reach their particular goals. We hope that you will find their experiences useful in creating your own unique implementation of the course The College Board. All rights reserved. College Board, AP, SAT, and the acorn logo are registered trademarks of the College Board. connect to college success, The Official SAT Online Course, The Official SAT Question of the Day, and The Official SAT Study Guide are trademarks owned by the College Board. PSAT/NMSQT is a registered trademark of the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Visit the College Board on the Web: sat.collegeboard.com/practice.

2 North Gwinnett High School, Georgia 3,361 students Ethnicity: 52% white; 15% African American; 15% Hispanic; 12% Asian All students take the SAT No stand-alone SAT preparation class 600 computers in school: 10 labs, 2 mobile labs and 1 computer in every classroom registration: 80% College-bound seniors: 94-96% Slow schoolwide adoption. Hold teacher meetings throughout the year where peers share ideas about integrating the course into daily lesson plans. Build awareness among students and parents via available communication opportunities: class and adviser meetings, newsletters, s, and targeted Web pages. Increase student test-day confidence. Show students that content in the online course as well as items on the SAT map to what they re learning in class. Begin early: Use of the writing component as early as ninth grade provides students with an eye-opening view of their skills, where they need to improve and how to track their progress via the rubric and exemplars. Emphasize the positive benefits: Findings show that students who use the online course not only become more familiar with the test format and questions, but also are more likely to use it again. A firm commitment leads to greater teacher adoption, student registration and The Official SAT Online Course usage The College Board. College Board, SAT and the acorn logo are registered trademarks of the College Board. achieve more and The Official SAT Online Course are trademarks owned by the College Board. PSAT/NMSQT is a registered trademark of the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

3 Sonaraville High School, Georgia 1,026 students Ethnicity: 92% white; 5% Hispanic; 2% African American; 1% Multi-racial Free and reduced-price lunch: 50% 568 computers in school: (348 desktops, 220 laptops) registration: 71% College-bound seniors: (# needed) Awareness and adoption. Strong and continuous promotion throughout the school year featuring parent orientation, newsletters, flyers, in-school posters, and counselors promoting and encouraging strong PSAT/NMSQT performers to register. Ensure access and use. Online course is part of the media center. Teacher familiarity is required. Every incoming freshman receives orientation and is registered for the course. Offered in multiple formats throughout the year. Four 90-minute daily classes offered each semester open to all students. Students earn one elective credit for completing the online course. Half of students do not have Internet access outside of school, so promote and ensure students know they have access during the day. Students who completed The Official SAT Online Course are likely to perform better than students who did not The College Board. College Board and the acorn logo are registered trademarks of the College Board. achieve more and The Official SAT Online Course are trademarks owned by the College Board.

4 Marietta High School, Georgia 2,071 students Ethnicity: 48% African American; 26% white; 19% Hispanic; 7% other Free and reduced-price lunch: 52% Computers in school: 30 laptop carts College-bound seniors: N/A Calming nerves and reducing the intimidation factor of the SAT. Provide access and incentive to take the class. Three classes offered per semester. A half-credit is awarded for taking this required course. Drive awareness to all key participants administrators, counselors, teachers, students and parents. Replicate the test environment as closely as possible to help eliminate anxiety. Promote the value of and access to instant scoring students love it! Practicing in the classroom allows students to get the anxiety over with before they sit for the actual test. Use of The Official SAT Online Course increases test-day confidence 2010 The College Board. College Board, SAT and the acorn logo are

5 Rome High School, Georgia 1,455 students Ethnicity: 37% white; 35% African American; 20% Hispanic; 5% Asian; 3% Multiracial Free and reduced-price lunch: ~55% Computers in school: 350 total; 1 per classroom, plus 150 additional registration: 40% College-bound seniors: ~60% Not able to provide a teacher to conduct a dedicated SAT preparation class. Teachers required to incorporate the online course into classroom curriculum. Principal sets goals for teachers, who then develop and present action plans for reaching them. Emphasize the importance of the SAT to all students. Online course grades based on participation, not scores, which avoids creating a high-stress situation for students. Expanding usage. Establish new promotional and awareness campaign targeting parents an untouched segment at this point. Media center opens early and closes late to give students the opportunity to use school computers. The Official SAT Online Course is a staff multiplier The College Board. College Board, SAT and the acorn logo are

6 Bleckley County Schools, Georgia 695 students Ethnicity: 73% white; 23% African American; 2% Hispanic; 1% Asian; 1% Multi-racial Free and reduced-price lunch: ~50% Computers in school: 1 per classroom plus 84 computers in 3 labs registration: 3% College-bound seniors: ~50% Prepare students for the SAT, its format, question types and testing in a timed environment. Encourage use by all teachers: Warm up the day with The Official SAT Question of the Day. Assign lessons and quizzes from the course as homework require students to bring printed scores to show the work was completed. Encourage use by all students. Offer scheduled classes to sophomores and up. Engage parents in communication and best practice usage. The Official SAT Online Course increases student comfort on test day The College Board. College Board, SAT and the acorn logo are

7 Gwinnett County, Georgia 3,200 students Ethnicity: 30% registration: 44 % College-bound seniors: ~85% How to transition from a fee-based, limited access program to The Official SAT Online Course Encourage integration into everyday math and language arts curriculum. Provide additional faculty support, including hands-on training for department heads and practical support and solutions for teachers. Allow students and teachers additional computer lab access. Distribute The Official SAT Online Course homework assignments. Promote 24/7 access to students and their parents. We didn t just register students and leave it at that. Every class goes into the lab with a particular assignment: an essay, a critical reading exercise, a quiz. 24/7 access allows greater schoolwide participation The College Board. College Board and the acorn logo are

8 Spring Independent School District, Texas 3,479 students Ethnicity: ~52% registration: 6% College-bound seniors: ~86% A large student body, limited in-school computer resources, but high in-home Internet availability. Replace fee-based after-hours test-preparation workshops taught by school faculty with The Official SAT Online Course. Promote students online course usage at home involve, educate and inform parents. Integrate additional SAT preparation tools in the classroom, such as The Official SAT Question of the Day. Emphasize the relevance of the course and that students can focus their efforts where they need them most via strong outreach methods. We really promote it, and we really feel that it s getting used a lot. Students and parents all love it. Flexible online program can be tailored to individual student needs The College Board. College Board, SAT and the acorn logo are SAT Online Course and The Official SAT Question of the Day are trademarks owned by the College Board.

9 Henrico County Public Schools, Virginia students Ethnicity: >15% Computers in school: A laptop for every teacher and student. College-bound seniors: >85% Implementing a single, consistent plan across every school in the county. Careful planning, thoughtful integration and robust teacher training and support. Develop curriculum that emphasizes in-class use, and provides best-use strategies, lesson plans and timelines. Emphasize student accountability by promoting deadline-driven assignments; grades for all related activities. Take steps to ensure that test-preparation becomes embedded in teacher and student course work. The Official SAT Online Course provides a good feedback mechanism. The feedback comes to the child so quickly, and with the impartiality of a computer. The Official SAT Online Course enables flexible classroom integration The College Board. College Board, SAT and the acorn logo are

10 Dorchester County Public Schools, Maryland 950 students Ethnicity: ~47% College-bound seniors: ~50% Overcoming limited resources. Integrate The Official SAT Online Course into existing class offered to juniors and seniors. Establish measurable benchmarks throughout the length of the course. Utilize full-length pretest at beginning of semester. Periodically assign portions of practice tests and lesson quizzes as homework to measure progress. Conduct full practice tests at midpoint and end of semester. The students loved using The Official SAT Online Course, and were really excited about visiting the website. It s accessible to them, they can use it whenever they want at home, at school, wherever. And in this day and age, students are more likely to use a computer-based course than a book. A powerful classroom teaching tool and independent study resource The College Board. College Board and the acorn logo are

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