What Students want from ACT/SAT Online Test Prep – Upward Bound Interview
Interview with Maria Sandra Jimenez, Ed.S. Assistant Director, Upward Bound Programs, at University of Nevada Reno.
Andre: At Net College Prep we want to know what students want from ACT/SAT online test prep. Thank you for taking time to debrief on the progress of your test prep program. How many years have you worked with Upward Bound students?
Maria: This is my seventh year with the University of Nevada Reno Upward Bound programs. However, this program is now in it’s 50th year. We have three separate Upward Bound grants that serve four schools in the Washoe County School District and two schools in the rural Lyon County schools district.
Andre: Since we are beginning our third year working together, this is a great time to debrief on how ePrep, our online ACT/SAT test prep courses have enhanced your program. So, what is working and what can be improved?
Maria: The jury is out on whether or not ePrep is the determining factor for better test performance. However, our students are improving on their official test performances. We hire a K-12 certified teacher each year to coordinate the ACT/SAT prep. The coordinator creates a curriculum and schedules 16 sessions per grant with students over the school year. In these sessions the coordinator provides instruction focused on increasing their test content knowledge base and developing test-taking strategies.
Initially we introduce ePrep to students to be used as a self-paced course. The coordinator uses ePrep’s backend reporting to monitor the progress of each student throughout the school year.
What students want in ACT/SAT Test Prep
Andre: What do your students like about ePrep?
Maria: Number one, it is easy to use. Both for students and teachers. Previous courses we tried were more difficult to use. With ePrep, students can take a test, see their scores and then review video tutorials at their own pace. And the students like the short video tutorials that get to the point, demonstrating how to solve a problem.
Andre: In your second year did you change how you deliver test prep?
Maria: During the first year we had our test coordinator monitor students in a classroom while they took a practice test or reviewed video tutorials. It became evident that after one introductory session, students could use this online program on their own, opening their ePrep account to study when they had time. Now that students use ePrep independent of class time, the coordinator has captured valuable face-to-face time for working with students.
Andre: Any other change that is making a difference?
Maria: We added a one-day session that has become the highlight of the course. We printed out a test and conducted a three and a half hour simulated official test session in the morning. After lunch the students logged into their accounts and submitted their answers. Immediately, ePrep presents their scores. And you know Andre how current students, that you refer to as the net generation expect immediate results. So, unlike the official test, ePrep delivers immediate feedback. By receiving their scores they gain an idea of how they will do on the official test.
Andre: So, immediate feedback is motivating study?
Maria: Definitely. After seeing their scores, every student was motivated to begin watching the videos that addressed the problems they missed. No coaxing required.
What test prep tutors want
Andre: Anything lacking in ePrep?
Maria: It is an excellent supplement to the tutoring services and test prep that we offer. At one of our national Trio conferences I shared with the director of the University of Nevada Las Vegas program that we were using ePrep. She became interested and excited to learn more. So, I gave her your contact information.
Andre: Thanks for the referral. UNLV UB is just beginning their second year of working with us.
Maria: However, I would like to have a way to compare the practice ACT/SAT test results with student official scores, by total score and by subject. I think this kind of report would provide valuable feedback on where we need to provide additional tutoring.
Andre: We have just released a new report that provides fields for submitting official scores for comparative review.
Maria: Please send it to me.
Andre: Does ePrep provide benefits to your staff?
Maria: Our grant counselors schedule test prep sessions with students during the school visits. However, if a student needs immediate help with a challenging class, homework always comes first. Instead of rescheduling, our counselors can assign self-paced work with the ePrep virtual tutor and vocabulary drills in the ePrep Wordsmith section. Students can complete this work on their own. This strategy provides time to address immediate school needs without sacrificing test prep progress.
Andre: Thanks again for taking time for this interview.
Maria: My pleasure. I will look forward to receiving the new report.
Here is a “Preview” of the Official Test Scores Comparison Report