Ideas: The ATI Blog

How to Accelerate SAT Reading and Writing Score Gains

While the reading and writing portion of the SAT exam has long had a significant critical reading component, the “new SAT” introduced in 2016 focuses to an even greater extent on critical reading in its Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section. In essence, this element of the SAT is a test of a student’s ability to interpret college-level reading material.

If students read, think about, and learn how to understand very sophisticated and complex texts, in addition to the obvious benefits of simply building these skills for the sake of being a more discerning reader and writer, they will do well on this portion of the SAT exam. Unfortunately, most students rarely encounter adequately sophisticated prose. The average high school senior tends to choose material at the 7th grade level when they choose to read. At the same time, high school textbooks have continued to simplify the reading level such that high school seniors will often be studying history written at a 9th or 10th grade reading level. Finally, even those students who do work with a few challenging texts for an AP Literature class, for example, are often rushing to get through the prose (or even using Cliff's Notes).

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Getting into the College of Your Choice

Many parents and educators mistakenly believe that college admission requires a strict adherence to the Carnegie credit system. In fact, the College Board SAT and AP exams provide a ready-made competency-based alternative to the “seat-time” requirements of the Carnegie credit system, the century-old standard which measures the amount of time a student spends learning. Demonstrating mastery of content through the SAT and AP exams instead of the Carnegie credit system allows students to focus on the specific content and skills that are pre-requisites for their particular path.

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What Does It Take to Achieve Excellence?

For many decades, researchers who have focused on achieving excellence in all realms have studied the practices of star performers and exceptionally capable learners. Mastery requires a careful focus on and commitment to improving the quality of one's own practice—it is an ongoing process of refinement of technique whether in music, writing, mathematics, chess, coding, or any other practicable domain.

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How Autonomy Brings Learning to life

At ATI, autonomy infuses all of learning. Within each of our core classes (Life Design, Socratic Humanities, and Mathematical Problem-Solving), each student begins from a foundation of choice.

Life Design goals will be highly personal. Some students may choose to focus more on time management, others on sleep and diet, and still others on changing negative thought patterns. Over time, most students will review, evaluate, and improve every aspect of their personal life and overall performance. Students and mentors work together to determine which aspect of a teen's life will be the primary focus at any given point in time.

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The Bliss Diagram—How A Teen Can Find Their Place in the World

As teens begin seeking their own purpose in life, they look for a meaningful role to play in the world. We recognize that our increasingly-complex world requires teens today to direct significant time and effort towards the vital work of exploring identity and defining purpose.

At ATI, we use the “Bliss” diagram developed by Aristotle Bancale and Dorothy Shapland to support this exploration. Here's how it works.

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Who Are You, and What Do You Stand For in the World?

Who are you, and what do you stand for in the world?

Coming to understand personally-meaningful answers to core questions of identity can take years of seeking, honest conversations, and understanding relevant facts about the world in which we live — but for most teens, almost none of this vital process of self-discovery happens through the coursework they are exposed to at school.

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Should You Care If Your Teen is Stressed at School?

The teenage years present distinct challenges, and today's rapidly-changing culture combined with high expectations of achievement in a system that doesn't personalize can leave many teens feeling disconnected. These days it may just seem “par for the course” for teens to be stressed at school, but there are good reasons why it shouldn't be that way. Parents and schools should set a high bar, not just for teen achievement, but for teen happiness…

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Cultivating Excellence and Developing Genius

Dr. Charles Reavis' Lessons from Extraordinary Educators tells the story of coaches, teachers, and principals who elicit extraordinary performance from “ordinary” students. We have all known a particular high school that won state or national championships in chess, debate, mathematics, choir, or other areas far out of proportion to their population.

Reavis concludes from examining several of these cases that what the educators share in common includes…

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A high school for teens who want to excel on their own terms.

In the right learning environment, high school students are capable of much more than conventional education permits them to achieve. Teens that choose ATI are ready for responsibility and able to take ownership over their own education in a way that the control mechanisms of typical schooling make virtually impossible.

If the average high school experience just doesn't inspire your teen, consider the Academy of Thought and Industry. We're looking forward to connecting with you and answering all of your questions.

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