Forum 2017: How Three Winning Districts Went ‘All In’ on SAT Practice
Forum 2017: How Three Winning Districts Went ‘All In’ on SAT PracticeKate Welk, Director, Communications
Earlier this year, 28 districts across the country participated in the 2017 SAT Practice All In Challenge, helping tens of thousands of students practice for the SAT and prepare for college success. On Thursday, school leaders from three of the winning districts gathered to discuss what they did to boost the number of students using Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy.
The session kicked off with a video detailing the work of Chicago Public Schools to get students and faculty engaged in the practice challenge. Then Gregory Jones, Principal of Kenwood Academy High School, Chicago Public Schools, Carol Tisdale, Dean of Student Culture at High Tech Early College, Denver Public Schools, and Bryan Wells, Principal, Fresno Unified School District, shared how they improved access, set goals, and generated excitement to help their students build confidence and improve their SAT performance.
Gregory Jones described the process of using data to create personalized college plans for each student and encouraging them to own their progress: “Over the summer, we take PSAT data for each student and create custom packets based on skills gaps so they know where they need to work. During the year, students get a report card with their current GPA, attendance rate, Official SAT Practice scores, and the colleges where they currently quality for enrollment. They meet once a week to engage with their peers about how they’re doing on their college goals. This helps inspire healthy competition, but it also builds awareness among young people so they know what they need to do to reach their goals. “
Carol Tisdale talked about using teachers as a catalyst for integrating SAT practice in the classroom and the school culture: “Our teachers are pivotal in what we do with Khan Academy. Part of my job is to create tools and resources that take the fear out of the process for teachers so they can rise to the challenge. We shared data with them that showed students’ GPA was not reflective of SAT scores and college persistence rates. They internalized it and reflected on their own practices in the classrooms and made some significant shifts in their instruction. We continue to make shifts and they’re working on building out rigorous classroom assessments that are aligned to SAT-style questions. This dedication extends to our kids; they show up. We had a 97 percent participation rate on the days we administered the PSAT and SAT. The teachers embody this and they’re the reason the students show up.”
Bryan Wells discussed working with the community to increase access to Official SAT Practice and using every opportunity to celebrate students and teachers: “Our guiding principle, from district to classroom, is that all students deserve equal opportunities to graduate from high school with the widest array of options. We worked with a local internet provider who gave us free and low-cost wifi internet and loaner tablets for students, and made it a priority to use them in our heavily-attended after school program. We also designed incentives to get kids practicing, including off-campus passes for the juniors if they signed up and practiced for a certain number of hours, passes for some of the food vendors that come on campus, and passes to any home sporting game. We also made sure to honor our students and teachers whenever possible so they know they’re supported.”
Check out more tools for educators, including new coaching tools, to support students and faculty with Official SAT Practice.