Dr Phillips Discusses ACT Preparation and Skills Tested
Ben T. Phillips, Ed.D., Director, Ed.S. and Ed.D. Programs & Associate Professor of Educational Leadership
November 29, 2010 - Dr. Ben T. Phillips presented at the The Union University-Germantown Fourth Annual Education Forum on September 24, 2010, His presentation was entitled Determining the Alignment of the Math Skills Covered in Commercially Available ACT Test-Prep Books and the Actual Math Skills Tested on the ACT.
"The ACT continues to gain in popularity as one of the nation’s prominent college-readiness assessments. More and more states, including Tennessee, are requiring all high school students to take the ACT. The increased use of these test scores as an accountability measure for schools and school districts is in the not-so-distant future. At the same time, college recruiters are becoming more selective, which in turn puts pressure on high school students to maximize their ACT score. Test-prep books continue to proliferate on the shelves of commercial booksellers and in the offerings of online stores, but are these books really helpful?
The results of a qualitative research procedure called document analysis revealed that all test-book books are not created equal. In the first phase of this project, the researcher analyzed the math skills tested in several retired ACT tests. Afterward, the researcher analyzed the math skills reviewed in some of the best-selling ACT test-prep books. The analysis showed two surprising extremes: The missing material as well as the extraneous material in the books of some of the nation's most revered names in the test-prep industry expose the weaknesses of these manuals. The unfortunate conclusion is that the consumer who needs to make the most informed decision about which book to purchase (high school juniors and seniors) is probably the least suited to make the right decision."