Integrating SAT Prep into Classroom Instruction
One way to integrate test prep into classroom instruction is to provide opportunities for your students to engage in skills and practices that are aligned with the level of rigor and types of reasoning assessed on the SAT. Engagement with SAT-aligned skills and practices is not only important for SAT performance, but also college readiness. In fact, students who reach SAT college readiness benchmarks have a 75% chance of earning at least a C in first year college courses. SAT scores in both math and evidence-based reading and writing have also been shown to correlate with first year college GPA.
SAT-Aligned Skills and Practices
Based on the level of rigor and types of reasoning assessed on the SAT, Academic Approach has identified the following SAT-aligned skills and practices in writing, reading, and math. Infusing repeated opportunities to engage in these skills and practices into your instruction will help your students develop capacity with the types of reasoning they will encounter on the SAT.
- Constructing claims, arguments, and explanations related to information from the text and using evidence from the texts to support them
- Critically evaluating claims, arguments, and explanations
- Developing metacognitive awareness of writing practices in their own and others’ writing
- Engaging in productive forms of close reading that contribute to deep understanding and interpretation of the text
- Understanding the point of view or perspective of the author or particular characters and how it shapes aspects of the text
- Connecting with relevant prior knowledge to better understand aspects of the text
- Engaging in intertextuality by synthesizing information from multiple sources
- Developing metacognitive awareness of close reading practices, particularly becoming aware of how productive forms of close reading contribute to deep understanding of texts
- Explaining the meaning of a problem and actively looking for ways to solve it by critically analyzing, speculating about the form and meaning of the solution, and planning a pathway to get there.
- Constructing arguments by consulting definitions, theorems and previously established results and justifying conclusions by building a logical progression of claims and using examples.
- Making sense of quantities and their relationships when problem solving by creating coherent arguments and using symbols to represent mathematical situations.
- Applying skills learned in math class to situations encountered in everyday life.
Introducing the SAT Curriculum Toolkit
To help schools integrate these SAT-aligned skills and practices into reading and math instruction, Academic Approach has developed the SAT Curriculum Toolkit: a program of professional development and instructional materials and supports. During the 2017-2018 school year, we’ve piloted this program with 9th, 10th, and 11th grade math and reading teachers at two Chicago Public Schools. The pilot includes beginning-of-year professional development, teacher-researcher coaching partnerships, and collaborative design of classroom materials and instructional scaffolds.
The professional development focuses on preparing teachers to integrate relevant skills and practices into instruction, best implement a set of classroom materials created by Academic Approach, and develop new materials that align with their instructional scope and sequence. In reading, we provide instructional planning resources and a set of classroom materials. The reading classroom materials consist of three SAT-level passages in literature, history, and science and a set of questions designed to engage students in productive forms of evidence-based reading and writing. In math, we provide an in-depth scope and sequence document with objectives, aligned standards, and SAT exemplar questions, as well as model performance tasks and example lesson plans.
Preliminary analysis of performance data shows greater evidence of engagement in SAT-level close reading and evidence-based argumentation and better SAT score growth in intervention classrooms, as compared to control classrooms. Our findings suggest that this instructional approach may be effective in supporting the development of evidence-based reading and writing skills that lead to success on and beyond the SAT.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the SAT Curriculum Toolkit and how it can work in your school, please contact us.