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According to Grigg, Daane, Jin, and Campbell (2003), more than 8 million middle and high school students are struggling readers, and among those, many are at a high risk of dropping out of school. A longitudinal study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (2009) revealed schools with a higher percentage of minority students had a higher dropout rate, which increased as the school poverty level increased. Hispanic students and Black students had the highest dropout rates (11% and 10%, respectively) of all racial groups. According to a local public high school’s AYP report (Florida Department of Education, 2010b), 320 of 743 Hispanic students were on track to graduate. The 2010 AYP results revealed that 38 of 107 Black students were on track for graduation. In accordance with the Florida Legislature (2010), students aged 3-21 who have a disability and gifted students in grades K-12 are eligible for exceptional student services (ESE)... read more

This area is for students or parents, especially those that are willing to put forth the effort to learn more, and be a better student, to achieve more ;-) To help my students I normally assign them 5 new words a day. Whether they open a physical dictionary or go to the links below, the important thing is that they learn and use new words. Tools ------ dictionary.com - a handy resource with access to multiple dictionaries in one place, especially if you don't have one in the home. worddynamo.com - great website that will send you (after you sign up for free) an email of a quickie multiple choice test of new words. It's a fun way to learn! khanacademy.org - Khan's academy - this is the best resource I've found both for kids and parents. You can sign up your little learner, no matter the age, and they can go out there at any time. - they have all sorts of subjects for free, your child can go at their own pace, and it's a marvelous place to learn with videos online,... read more

I find most folks today (kids & adults) have the most difficulty in reading and comprehension of what they are reading. Much of that is due to a lack of reading, most folks do not know much in the way of vocabulary (beyond every day useage) and that really hurts them when they come to testing. I also note that most folks don't put much time into reading for pleasure. And the GREAT thing is that it can be fixed!!!! (wahoo!!! life is good) Parents, it's important to impress upon your (hopefully) college bound child EARLY on as a freshman - sophomore - junior - senior, that the better they do, the better scholarships they will receive. And the more they know now, the less painful it will be when they get to college or other higher institutions of learning. Or out into the business world. ***Scientific studies repeatedly show (statistically) that repeated exposure to specific vocabulary enhances and increases the student's utilization of the words. Basically, if your child... read more

One way you can be very well prepared to tackle your exam is by taking practice tests. You probably already knew this. However, here is something you might not have known. The best way to do the practice tests is to replicate real testing conditions as much as possible. In other words, wherever you take a practice test, try to make that space feel like the testing environment. This is very much the same philosophy as the "train as you fight" theory used by the military. it does them no good to practice their combat techniques in ideal conditions because they will not have those ideal conditions when they have to implement the techniques. In the same way, taking long breaks and doing only one section per day will not prepare you for the real testing environment. Here are some tips to help you create your own test-taking environment at home: *Get your parents to assist by planning with them when you need your home to be quiet. Make sure siblings are all in agreement... read more

One key to success when you are preparing for your standardized test - or any test, for that matter - is to use visualization exercises. This may seem unscientific, and perhaps it is, but it is a techniques used by athletes, business professionals and successful test takers the world over. Many of my students have benefited from this type of exercise, saying it helped them settle their minds and focus on the test. The technique is to imagine how good it will feel after the test, knowing that you did your very best. Think about walking out of the test center, your head held high, with the knowledge that you did your best. That is a great feeling to imagine, no? In addition, make plans to do something fun after the test. This could be having lunch with friends, going to see a movie, maybe playing a pick-up soccer game, or even just relaxing. Whatever it is you do to celebrate, make concrete plans to do that after the test. This way, you will be looking forward to the test day... read more

When it comes to standardized tests, the PSAT is often overlooked as an “unnecessary step” in the college entrance process. School guidance counselors steer students toward the SAT and ACT; many teachers mention it in their 6th and 7th grade classrooms. This leaves students and parents alike wondering whether they should even bother taking the PSAT. This article explains the purpose of the PSAT test itself and lists four (4) reasons students should take the PSAT and the benefits of doing so. What is the PSAT test, anyway? First, PSAT stands for “Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test”. In some places, you may see it paired with the NMSQT, or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, as in “PSAT/ NMSQT”. The acronym describes its purpose: to test a student’s readiness to take the SAT, to serve as a practice test for the SAT, and to determine student’s eligibility for National Merit Scholarships. So, contrary to popular belief, PSAT scores DO matter if you want to qualify for... read more

What method of inquiry do we tend to rely on to communicate with others? We often rely on questions to do so. While this can provide answers to us that suffice, we tend to only ask simple clarifying questions rather than open- ended inquiries. For example, if you were to ask your son or daughter if they understood your instructions to clean their room, chances are you will receive merely a "yes" or "no" answer. In an open-ended inquiry, your would ask instead, "What did I request of you to do...?" Asking open-ended questions evoke deeper thought from others and lead to better understanding and communication. Practicing this simple form of communicating can help you and others you interact with become successful conversationalist. So the next time you need to know something, ask the questions that will ensure that both you and the other party you are communicating with understand one another on a deeper, clearer level. Happy Thinking!

Now is the time I receive a lot of questions from prospective students and current students about the SAT. So here are my steps to achieve success with the SAT. 1. With any goal, you want to look at goal completion and move backward. With that I mean, say you want to take the SAT test on May 4, 2013, move back at least 3 months and that is the time you should start prepping for the test. In this example, you will need to commence your studying by February 1. 2. Go to http://www.collegeboard.org, create a profile and sign up to take the test. Take a tour within the collegeboard website, as they have some great resources. 3. Did you purchase the official SAT study guide? You can purchase at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Official-SAT-Study-Guide/dp/0874478529/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357660680&sr=8-1&keywords=sat+book or through the collegeboard website. 4. Take one of the practice tests in the back of the SAT book. That will give you a baseline idea... read more

How do you decide? Well there is a KEY piece of information that most students/parents don't consider because: (1) they don't know about it, and (2) it's definitely counter-intuitive, if not downright irrational. And what is this critical, missing nugget of knowledge? Why it's "SUPER SCORING," also known as "SAT® Score-Use Practices." Super scoring comes in six delectable flavors: 1. Highest Section Scores Across Test Dates — Version 1 (Highest M, CR, W) 2. Highest Section Scores Across Test Dates — Version 2 (Highest M, CR, W) 3. Single Highest Test Date — Version 1 (Sum of M+CR+W) 4. Single Highest Test Date — Version 2 (Sum of M+CR+W) 5. All SAT® Scores Required for Review and the ever popular 6. Contact Institution for Information What does all of this gobbledygook mean? It means that a student applying to my Alma Mater (Columbia University), which uses "Highest Section Scores Across Test Dates — Version... read more

What a way to start off the New Year! First I met with a student for US History and Living Environment. She is taking the Regents exams in three weeks. When I first met with her, Cee had a fear of taking exams, and was very nervous. She struggled with understanding both subjects; the Historical Events and dates, as well as the vocabulary words for Biology. Her next struggles were understanding and answering the document based questions for US History and the short responses for LE. Now she answers them much more confidently and accurately, and has even improved in writing her document based and thematic essays for US History. I am so proud of her and is certain that she will pass both Regents exams. Then I met with my grade 4 student for Math, English Language Art and Science. He has gone from scoring 31% to 83% on his practice science exam. He is much more confident with doing Math and ELA assignments. I am so proud of him. Then it was on to my grade 6 Math student. When I... read more

Professional athletes hire personal trainers and learn as much as possible about getting the most out of their bodies. They study things such as exercise’s effect on muscles, the vitamins and minerals they’ll need to rebuild muscle, and how much water they’ll need to drink to stay hydrated while working out. Students can use the same approach by learning about biopsychology and learning - related biopsychology research to get their brains in tiptop shape. This article will teach you a few things about biopsychology so you can get your brain ready for maximum learning. What is Your Brain Made Of? About 70% of our brain is made up of fatty acids. (The other 30% is made up of protein.) This is because the cell membranes of neurons, the cells that make up our brain, are created by a double layer of fatty acids. The cell membrane holds all the cell’s contents and gives neurons their shape. So, when you see a picture of your brain, you are looking at the cell membranes of millions... read more

Have you scheduled a time to take one of the standardized tests listed in the subject line? Are you thinking about signing up to take one of them? Have you taken one already, but have decided to take it again in the hopes of getting a higher score? Have you taken one of the tests, and found the experience so rewarding, you plan to sign up and take the same test simply for the enjoyment? (If you’re in the latter category, I’d seriously examine your core values ; < ). Regardless, if you must take one, and nearly everyone does that plans to enroll in a college, university, professional school, or private school, here is a suggestion that I haven’t read about in any of the testing prep manuals or on any of the websites devoted to improving one’s score on these tests. And that advice is to beware of the “positive I’m correct about this answer ‘rush’” This phenomenon may occur on the multiple-choice segments of these tests because, of course, you want to finish and get out of... read more

Your brain has “cheats” and shortcuts to make it work more efficiently, just like some video games! There are things students can do to “glitch” their brains so they soak up information like a sponge. All of these “cheats” are things we should do to keep our brains healthy to ensure they keep working at maximum capacity throughout our lives. This article lists four brain “cheats”, how they help students learn, and a brief explanation of why they work. Brain “Cheats” When I started playing video games in the 1980’s, gamers were nothing like they are today. The Internet (GASP!) didn’t exist. We couldn’t look up articles or videos on how to finish the hard sections of the video games we played. Some gamers did learn “cheats” anyway: ways to get advantages you could use to make it easier to finish all the levels. For example, the cheat for “Space Invaders” on the system I played had (Atari 2600!) was to hold down the “reset” button while turning your console on to get 99 lives... read more

My last post spoke about willpower, specifically noting that your supply of willpower is finite and that it is used up for all different kinds of things requiring self-control. There are many ways that this relates to test-taking, but I would like to clearly state some very important truths right here: 1. If you are low on sleep, your willpower will be depleted and energy that could be fueling your brain to answer test questions will be spent keeping you awake and fighting the urge to sleep. 2. If you are hungry, your willpower will be depleted and the energy that could be fueling your brain to attack test questions with dogged persistence will be gone. Study after study have shown these two facts to be true, yet “get enough sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and bring a snack to the test” merit only a passing mention at the beginning of most test prep manuals. Please do not overlook these test preparation exercises – they might just give you the boost you need!!! Be fearless... read more

Q. Where will we meet for tutoring? A. We will try to find a suitable place that is convenient for both of us. Though I do travel to meet you, time and distance are important factors in making this work feasible and profitable for me, so I try to find locations that minimize my travel time, while also providing convenience to you. Q. How will we decide on a time to meet? A. We will try to find a suitable time that is convenient for both of us. Q. When are you available to tutor? A. It varies from week to week, but my general availability begins at 10:00 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and ends at 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and at 3:00 pm Saturday. Please contact me for my current availability. Q. How long will each session be? A. The session length can vary, depending on the subject, the student, and the schedule. Unless otherwise agreed, the session times will be two (2) hours each. Q. Why do you recommend two (2) hours per session? A. Through... read more

· Pre-Reading Strategies:       -Question yourself:               § What is the topic?               § What do you already know?               § What has already happened?               § What do you think will happen?      -Read headings:               § What do you already know about the headings?               § Turn headings into questions to be answered.                      · What is...?                      · Who is...?                      ·... read more

As you may know, I am a big fan of the well-known author and brain specialist, Dr. Daniel Amen. He mentions in several of his books that Physical Exercise is good for the brain. I have read of research studies that showed a clear correlation between IMPROVEMENT in students' test scores in math and science, and their level of physical activity (for example, when math class followed PE class, the students had significantly higher scores). Maybe we should schedule PE before all math classes in our schools. What do you think about that idea? This morning I read an online article on the myhealthnewsdaily site, entitled "6 Foods That Are Good for Your Brain," and another article about how Physical Exercise helps maintain healthy brain in older adults too. The second article, "For a Healthy Brain, Physical Exercise Trumps Mental Workout" was found under Yahoo News. The remainder of this note is quoted from that article: Regular physical exercise appears to... read more

Which test to take or if he should take both tests is determined by what colleges he is interested in. Generally even the top schools in the Midwest are looking for high ACT scores, and writing the essay is a plus. The big schools on the coasts generally want the SAT. (Its essay is not optional.) However, to maximize your investment you MUST investigate each individual school's expectations of its incoming freshman class. If both tests are indicated on the basis of what I've just said, then my counsel is to prep and sit for the SAT first, then the ACT.   You may even want to schedule one of each test before investing in paid test prep. It's enormously helpful to me to have that baseline already drawn.   On test dates occurring in December, April, and June, it's even possible to obtain a copy of the exact test and your students' answers. This request is called Test Information Release (TIR). You can request a TIR at the time that you register for the... read more

The above-referenced subjects include different-aged PreK-College student needs I have experienced at the beginning of each school year since Fall 2010, when I first began tutoring in earnest via WyzAnt, instead of substituting daily for lesser pay in 18 area elementaries in our school district. I am not including higher math (Grade 7 and above) in my math tutoring experience. I also have helped adults with ESL/ESOL, general and academic reading/writing/comprehension/test preparation as well as public speaking for different-sized audiences, sometimes at-the-last-minute before "the big presentation day".

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