Dear Academic Approach Families & Colleagues: Many of you have shared your ideas, needs, and concerns with us as schools release their plans for the fall--remote, hybrid, or in-person. Your main focus? Will your students receive enough rigorous instruction to maintain academic progress? This year presents a unique time of need to push rigorous instruction. With many terms circulating in the media – pods, micro schools, homeschooling – it’s important to stay focused on the main priority of any academic enrichment. Rigor in Learning Increasing rigor for students is the core of any effective academic support. By focusing on providing high-level content, students can be successful in their high school and, later, college courses; incorporating questioning and accountability for engagement into our one-on-one or small-group instruction will then drive rigor in students' thought processes and promote self-advocacy that can be missing in remote learning from school. Rigorous Feedback We know that one of the main levers in driving student learning is providing feedback and allowing students to incorporate and apply that feedback. Constructive, critical feedback is at the heart of our instruction: asking the right questions and giving students the opportunity to learn and grow through that highly personalized feedback. In both our test preparation and academic work, we use cycles of questioning and feedback to drive learning. As students and families consider how learning will look this fall, we're keeping an eye on rigor: how do school learning plans incorporate rigor, and how can we maintain it at high levels to ensure academic progress? Be well, Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Founder & CEO
Dear Academic Approach Families & Colleagues:ACT has issued the following statement, which summarizes for you some of the findings we’ve been sharing. College Board is providing this guidance to students who are registered for the August SAT. It is worth noting that 1) they are more specific about safety precautions during testing than ACT has been; and 2) they anticipate and explain their approach to test cancellations.We will continue to track and communicate.Be well,Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Founder & CEO
Dear Academic Approach Families & Colleagues:Thank you for sharing your experiences with us after yesterday’s challenging launch of ACT’s MyACT registration site. We’ve heard your stories: students finding fall dates full, students receiving automatic re-registrations at sites in other states, and students who ought to have been re-registered simply canceled with no refund or further direction. We read every word you send us and appreciate your communications. We only wish we could help solve your problems immediately, and we're continuing to work with families on finding a path forward.Here’s what we know:Some testing sites still have seats for September/October, but most are now full, including those close to Chicago, New York, or Boston (though there are a few options on Long Island and near Philadelphia for October dates).There are still plenty of sites available for December and on; students can register for any test date through July 2021. Students are no longer seeing wait times to register on MyACT and should be able to log in immediately.ACT may add additional test sites in the fall, but nothing is guaranteed.College Board currently has seats available to take the SAT at several schools in Chicagoland for September and in Chicagoland, Boston region, and New York City metropolitan area for October.Your frustration is part of a growing national narrative.Please continue to share your experiences with us, and we’ll continue to gather information and share strategic insights as we gain them. For students that did take the ACT on July 18th, ACT has begun to release scores. Students can find them in their MyACT account.Be well,Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Founder & CEO
Dear Academic Approach Families & Colleagues:ACT reopened its MyACT registration system for fall testing this morning at 10am Central. After a multitude of issues last week, ACT has instituted two major changes to the system: auto-registration for seniors and queuing.Auto-Registering SeniorsThey appear to have attempted to auto-register rising seniors who were scheduled for a canceled test this past spring or summer. Students likely received an email from ACT letting them know if they were able to auto-register them successfully. If they were auto-registered, students can still log in and make changes to the registration like test site or date. Some students have reported that they have received notifications from ACT that they were unable to auto-register them, though a reason was not provided.Registration QueuingThey've introduced a queuing system for students to get on the site to prevent crashes similar to last week. Once the site has reached a maximum number of users, students attempting to register will be placed in line. Students will hear a "chime" when they are at the front of the line, at which point they will have 20 minutes to access the registration system. With some wait times being over an hour, it's important to stay near your computer so you don't miss the "chime."ACT also updated their FAQ with more information on registration today and have been posting on Twitter. Some important notes:Standby testing will be available at no charge for the September test dateOnline, remote testing is still planned at this point for winter, which may be helpful for some studentsJuniors are encouraged to select December or later dates to enable seniors to test before college admissions deadlinesOur directing team will continue to support students and families as they plan for the fall.Be well,Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Founder & CEOP.S. Academic Approach is in the running for Best Tutor in Better Magazine's Best of 2020 for both the city and the suburbs categories! Voting happens here until 5pm Wednesday (8/5).