The following standardized tests are opportunities for Out-of-Door students to demonstrate his or her reasoning ability or mastery of a given subject. The tests provide a standard measure independent of individual school or region. Standardized tests not only help ODA students better understand the level of reasoning ability required in various courses; but also, standardized test scores are an important element used in the college admission process.
While there is always debate about the validity and predictability of tests and test scores, it should be noted that standardized tests are just a single indicator— of many—that determine a student’s abilities. In fact, there are many schools known as “Test Optional” that do not require submission of a standardized test for admission. A list of these schools can be found at www.fairtest.org.
This test assesses three areas: critical reading, math and writing (scored on a 20-80 scale, the equivalent of a 200-800 on the SAT). Taking the test serves both as practice for students and as a diagnostic tool for educators to understand a student’s testing pattern. ODA students can use their personalized PSAT reports to target areas of need and address them appropriately in the classroom or in their formal test preparation. And, many merit scholarship programs, most notably the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, are based on the PSAT administered in October of the junior year.
In October, all 8th-11th graders at ODA will be required to take the PSAT. Students are automatically enrolled and the test will be given on ODA’s campus. Tests will be returned and explained to students in early-to-mid December.
PSAT 2013 Test Date: October 16th
Known as the Scholastic Assessment Test, the SAT is a three-part, three-hour and 45- minute test that assesses critical reading, writing, and mathematical reasoning ability. It is scored on a scale of 200-800 on each of the three sections. Each students test plan will be different, but most ODA students will begin taking the SAT in January of their junior year. (A 500 on each of the three sections is considered the National midline, or average.)
SAT 2013-2014 Test Dates: October 5, November 2, December 7, January 25, March 8, May 3, June 7
SAT Subject Tests are one-hour, subject-specific tests. There are 20 subject tests pulled from 5 different subject areas: History, Math, Science, English, and Foreign Language. Similar to the SAT Reasoning Test, each SAT Subject Test is scored on a scale of 200-800.
If a student is considering applying to the top 50 or so most competitive colleges in the United States, they can expect that between one and three subject tests will be required for admission. The Subject Tests may be taken in any year, on dates specified by the SAT Program, but it is most appropriate to take a Subject Test when the student has just completed a corresponding course.
SAT 2013-2014 Subject Test Dates: October 5, November 2, December 7, January 25, March 8, May 3, June 7
The ACT or American College Test is a three-hour standardized test, plus a 30-minute optional essay, that serves the same purpose as the SAT Reasoning Test. The ACT covers English, Math, Science, Reading, and Writing. In some instances, the ACT may be substituted in the admission process for the SAT Reasoning Test, SAT Subject Test, or both. Students can take the ACT as early as April of the junior year.
ACT Test Dates: October 26, December 14, February 8, April 12, June 14
One question the CCO is often asked is “what test?” Despite the fact that the SAT and ACT cover different topic areas and have different time commitments, the overwhelming majority of students do about the same on both tests. Realistically, the choice of tests comes down to student comfort. Because ODA students have been taking the PSAT for so many years, many feel more comfortable taking the SAT. But there is no “better or preferred” test for all students. (Click here for a link to the ACT/SAT Conversion Chart)
The AP Examinations are subject specific and are the equivalent of college-level courses. Each exam is two to three and a half hours long, with one or more essay components, and are scored on a 1-5 scale, with 5 being the highest score. That said, the minimum score to “pass” an AP examination is a 3. The AP tests are demanding and are designed to challenge a student's factual grasp of material as well as his or her conceptual understanding of the subject matter.
While we recommend that students take two, three, or more Subject Tests after successful completion of certain courses, the AP Examination is recommended only to students who have demonstrated strong achievement in the most advanced levels or who have taken courses that have specifically included the Advanced Placement curriculum.
Not only is the AP a strong standard measure of advanced understanding of material and a strong grasp of fact within a certain discipline, the AP Examination can award a student college credit or advanced standing in that subject. And, with certain schools are used in a “test-flexible” admission process. For text flexible schools please see fairtest.org
We believe that The Out-of-Door Academy’s curriculum adequately prepares its students for all standardized testing. Therefore, we do not offer a formal test option in the standard academic curriculum. If you are interested in pursuing more formal standardized test preparation, please see your college counselor.
If the presence and nature of a learning disability has been documented for a student and the College Board or ACT has granted him or her accommodations, The Out-of-Door Academy will provide that student with all necessary accommodations during standardized tests. Such accommodations usually include, but are not limited to, extra time on either the SAT Reasoning Test or Subject Tests, as well as on AP, ACT and PSAT exams. Students and families interested in learning more about if their child may fit the criteria for extended time testing, please contact Melinda Lloyd, Director of Academic Services at (941)554-5997 or email@example.com