ACT Chalk Talk #21
“Our teachers love the MasteryPrep materials. They are so well done, and so well put together, that any teacher, from any subject, could use their materials and teach them to students. English teachers could teach on the ACT math test, and vice versa. MasteryPrep’s materials have made teaching students how to properly take and prepare for the ACT so much easier.”-Tammy Cole, Coordinator of Student Learning, DeSoto Parish, LA
ACT Mastery has become the go-to curriculum for schools to increase the percentage of students graduating college-ready on the ACT. All told, more than 5% of ACT test-takers prep with MasteryPrep each year, making ACT Mastery the most popular test prep program in the country.
But how does it work? How can students scoring as low as a 13 make 7- and 8-point score gains? In this Chalk Talk, we’ll take an inside look at ACT Mastery.
Helping Teachers Succeed
It starts with the ACT Mastery teacher manuals. Schools have experts in Math, English, and Science, not the ACT. ACT Mastery helps great teachers become instant experts on standardized tests, no test prep background required. Teacher manuals include learning targets, lesson plans, step-by-step instructions, engaging inquiry-based student activities, and detailed explanations of every single question. Entrance and exit tickets help teachers differentiate instructions and diagnose learning difficulties, while embedded test-taking strategies and time management advice helps teachers level the playing field for their students.
Improving Student Outcomes
Students earn average ACT score gains of 4 points in an ACT Mastery class, with many students improving by as many as 9 points. ACT Mastery takes a three-pronged approach to helping students get results.
Every lesson includes timed practice and pacing techniques, so students go into the test with the time management habits they need to succeed.
Students who consider themselves “bad test-takers” gain a new perspective when they do the ACT Mastery program. Test-taking is a skill that can be learned just like anything else. In every lesson of ACT Mastery, students learn essential techniques and tricks that help them master standardized tests and the ACT in particular. The program covers guessing strategies and the process of elimination as well as subject-specific strategies, like tricks for eliminating commas and how to make the most out of math figures.
Time management and test-taking strategies can only take students so far. In the end, students must know the content to win at the ACT. ACT Mastery takes up where many test prep programs leave off by providing key reinforcement for the academic skills that make the biggest impact on ACT scores. Over 100 hours of scaffolded lessons build student skill to the rigor of the ACT, while over 1,000 authentic ACT practice questions ensure that students are prepared for the exact way the ACT will be testing them.
Implementing an ACT prep program at a school requires flexibility and adaptivity. Most students can’t attend after-school or weekend academic programs, which necessitates delivering ACT Mastery during the school day. The modular design of ACT Mastery allows lesson plans to scale up all the way to a 90-minute block schedule, or all the way down to a 15-minute mini-lesson during homeroom. Schools have successfully implemented ACT Mastery in a one-semester or full year course, in RTI or enrichment time, or even embedded mini-lessons in core classes. For tricky implementations, software is included to generate custom lesson plans exactly meeting the teacher’s time and sequencing requirements.
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Written by: Craig Gehring, Founder and CEO of MasteryPrep