Development of The SAT/ACT Diagnostic
How We Constructed the SAT/ACT Diagnostic
Each of the eight different sections (ACT English, SAT Critical Reading, ACT Mathematics, SAT Writing, ACT Reading, SAT Mathematics [calculator and no calculator], and ACT Science) was designed to mirror that actual SAT or ACT section of the exam. The amount of time allotted to read and complete the problems on each section is proportional to the amount of time students are given on both the ACT and the SAT. The topics and concepts on The SAT/ACT Diagnostic were determined by counting the occurrence of each topic over 50 actual exams, and proportionally allotting those concepts to problems on The SAT/ACT Diagnostic. The diagnostic is calibrated on an ongoing basis to ensure the most accurate results. The results are analyzed for balance and sections are tested against actual SAT and ACT exams to further ensure accuracy. The SAT/ACT Diagnostic is updated to reflect new concepts and questions that appear on both the ACT and the SAT.
The U.S. Congress, the Connecticut State Legislature, and statewide teacher organizations recognized me for excellence in the field of education. Harvard University asked me to participate in a research project entitled, The College Access Collaborative. Yale University’s School of Management chose College Planning Partnerships as a company for its graduate students to partner with.
The Connecticut State Dept. of Education asked me to help establish the standards for the statewide interdisciplinary CAPT test issued to tenth graders.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History chose me to participate in their Summer Seminar at Brown University. I was selected as a fellow for the Amistad American Fellowship, done in conjunction with Yale University.
I am the recipient of the Connecticut Education Association’s Presidential Award for Human and Civil Rights for directing a student effort that freed over 25 slaves in the Sudan.
Governor Rowland and the Connecticut Senate recognized me for organizing a student movement that led to the creation of 16 bills to stem student violence.
President Bill Clinton and U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd recognized me and my students for influencing the Connecticut State Legislature on the Sheff vs. O’Neill case. I am also a recipient of the Connecticut Celebration of Excellence Award.
I wrote a widely-read newspaper column entitled, College 101, and I’m the recipient of the James Madison Fellowship, issued by the U.S. Congress to one teacher annually in the state of Connecticut.
When I started College Planning Partnerships eight years ago I did not set out to create The SAT/ACT Diagnostic. My goal was to help high school students figure out what they enjoyed most in life and then to show them where they could put their joy to work in the marketplace. Once they identified what they wanted to pursue, I would then help them pick a course of education so they might wake up on Monday mornings excited to go to work.
People, however, came to me to bring up their SAT scores, and so the business of helping students to figure out the next educational step did not become the primary focus of my work. Students wanted higher scores so they could get into more schools and garner more Meritorious Money. And I’ve been very happy helping students to dramatically improve their ACT and SAT scores, because high scores open doors and low scores close them.
It wasn’t until four years ago when people in Connecticut started to become more familiar with the ACT that I created the first diagnostic. I did this because I had a number of kids come in for SAT prep and who then went on to score higher on the ACT. Double prep made no sense to me particularly since I now had a diagnostic that could spare students from prepping for the wrong test.
Creating the diagnostic that you’re about to take took far more time than I anticipated. The test is now in its fifth iteration, and while I could have released it nationally a year ago, I wanted to continue to assess and adjust so it would serve as a superior guide to figuring out which test a student is more likely to score higher on.
I majored in philosophy at Boston University with an emphasis in epistemology (the field that attempts to figure out the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge) so it all kind of fits nicely. I have written educational material for the New York Times Learning Network, Prentice Hall, Peregrine Publishers, and the Hartford Courant. I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Boston University. I worked as a newspaper reporter for The New York Post for 10 years, taught American history to eighth graders for eight years in Newtown and Deep River, Conn., and was the academic director for an educational program started by Paul Newman.