Standardized Coaching Programs

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Are Standardized Test Coaching Programs Effective? A popular perception once had it that a good night’s sleep was the best way, or only way, to prepare for college entrance test. Now that would be like skipping spring training to get a good rest before baseball season. (Feran). Each year well over one million students take the SAT as they prepare for the transition from high school to college. The ACT and SAT are used by nearly all colleges and universities in the United States to assess how well a given student will do in college their freshman year. In hopes of increasing scores, many of these students and their parents struggle with the decision about whether to invest substantial amounts of time and money in commercial coaching programs.…show more content…
They also tend to do the work that is required by all of these coaching agencies. The estimated effect of coaching on SAT scores is statistically significant at a .05 alpha level for all three specifications of the control variables for each section of the test. (Briggs). The three specifications being baseline repeated measures model with no control variables other than previous test score for SAT, additional control variables include demographic variables and indications of student high school performance, and full model with all theoretically relevant control variables with additional control variables including proxies for student motivation and dummy variables for other test preparation activities. It would also be reasonable to suspect that the effect of coaching might be higher for certain types of students- for example, students who scored lower on the PSAT, students who don’t receive private tutoring, and so forth. Results of another study suggest that coaching on the math section of the SAT is most effective for students with strong socioeconomic backgrounds, students who perform well in their high school math courses, and students who are actively involved in extracurricular activities. (Briggs). Research by the College Board, which also administers the SAT to more than 1.5 million students a year, found that students can…show more content…
short term review is not likely to be of much benefit.” Short term review and trying to each students content are, in essence, what coaching programs are doing. Again, students should prepare in the long run for entrance exams by taking harder classes in high school. Unfortunately, in the United States many students from low-income families are in schools where they are not encouraged to take rigorous academic courses or the courses are just not offered to the students. There is also a positive correlation between family income and test performance. (Depalma). The studies that are done to show how much coaching programs help are also flawed. The programs use any test score gain, even from a test taken up to two years earlier to report how well the student is progressing. Sometimes the selective reporting of results also seems to be a factor. (Powers & Camara). In other studies, the pre-test to the coaching is not even an actual operational form of the SAT or PSAT. Students are less likely to be motivated to take these tests and due well on them. Thus, after their coaching there will be inaccurately high estimates of score increases. Sometimes, coaching firms don’t consider the average growth for students like maturation, educational experiences both in and out of school, increased familiarity with the test, and error when measuring before and after coaching changes. So, the big

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