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Really lopsided SAT score

JenskiMomJenskiMom 1 replies1 threads New Member
I just read another thread on this-- but my daughter took the SAT fall of her junior year and got a 1410-- a 790 in reading and a 620 in math. She is a really, really strong math student except she is SLOW. She came out of the SAT and said she knew she could have answered all the questions if she just had more time. She has a 4.4 GPA going into her senior year-- A+'s in all her math classes (Advanced Pre-Calc last year), and will be taking AP Stats next year, as well as 4 other AP classes and a 4th year language. She has excellent EC's and volunteering as well. She does not know exactly what she wants to major in, but it will NOT be math or science.
Will this discrepancy hurt her chances at higher level schools? The higher level UC's? She is on the fence about taking it again-- saying that the problem of not being fast enough with the math won't be different, and she's worried about her reading score dropping. I think I could push/encourage her to take it again, and I know she would prep for it, but she's got a summer job, volunteers, and is working on her essays and applications.
Just looking for some clarity and wisdom.Thank you!
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Replies to: Really lopsided SAT score

  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1775 replies14 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2019
    Pre-cal in junior year and senior year taking ap stat mean your dd’s Math is a bit behind many rising seniors who are “really, really strong in math”. But I do think she could improve her math scores with more practice and bring up her superscore higher. Check to see whether the schools she is applying to superscore or not.
    edited June 2019
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  • JenskiMomJenskiMom 1 replies1 threads New Member
    Sorry-- didn't mean to imply math was a strength. She transferred to our high school district from a different district with a totally different curriculum and path. She has done very well in all the math classes she has taken.
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  • TheSATTeacherTheSATTeacher 236 replies0 threads Junior Member

    As an SAT tutor, here is what I will tell you.

    1) If she really thinks timing is affecting her this much on math, you ought to try and get extended time. Colleges are interested in finding out how much math your daughter is. If she is affected by time this much, they aren't getting a very good idea of her abilities from the test. There are reputable centers where psychologists can test students for such things and help them get documentation (if they need it) which the student can then use to get approved for extended time.

    2) One thing you can do that might help give you a better idea as to whether your daughter might need extended time is the following. Give her an official SAT practice test (there are 8 for free on Khan academy and more elsewhere) early in the morning (to simulate testing conditions) with 1.5 time (what she would likely get if she were to get approved for extended time) and with an answer sheet to bubble in answers. See how she does on it, and see if there is a big discrepancy between the score she gets on that and the 620.

    3) Also, on the test she already took, you might be able to check which answers she got wrong. Often, students have much more timing troubles with section 4 (math with calc) than with section 3 (math no calc). You should be able to tell whether this is the case from the list of q's she got wrong. My point here is that section 4 q's are more word-problemy, which students often aren't used to. They can generally get faster at these with practice. (There is also more reading involved in section 4 which affects students who are slow readers.)

    4) Many students can improve on timing. Perhaps your daughter needs extended time and perhaps she doesn't. Some students only need it for certain sections, so perhaps she only needs it for math. However, she is completing reading in the time provided so there is also a chance that she has the potential to complete the math section in the time allotted. Therefore, while you are investigating whether she needs/can get approved for extended time, you should probably also have her work on timing. Students really can get faster--not enough perhaps to fully compensate in the case of a student who needs extended time, but enough to make a difference. There are generally several ways in which students can improve on timing.

    a) Many students are not accustomed to testing under tightly timed conditions. Practicing under such conditions
    can help.

    b) Many students are not as familiar with the material as they could be. Perhaps they are familiar enough to get
    the questions right, but not in the time allotted. Dusting up on some material can be very useful.

    c) There are faster ways to do many problems. Figuring these out can be a real time saver.

    d) Many students do not know how to budget their time very well and as such spend more time on the easy
    questions than they should, leaving less time for the harder problems later in the section. Thinking about how
    best to budget time and practicing this skill on practice tests can be useful.

    e) Again, getting accustomed to the type of questions on the test is important. Future SAT questions tend to
    resemble past SAT questions. The more questions your daughter has seen, the quicker she should be. I also
    recommend doing some practice tests untimed. This helps many of my students get accustomed to the q's.

    f) Knowing how to convert English into equations is an important skill for solving word-problems. Many students
    lack this skill and can acquire it through deliberate practice.

    g) There are speed exercises that can be done. There are many other things I didn't list, but this post is long
    enough. If you have any questions on what I said, let me know.

    I hope this helps!
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10384 replies122 threads Senior Member
    Practice, practice, practice. Students need to get comfortable with the types of questions and working under the time constraints. If she is strong in math, she can get faster.

    I too am shocked and frankly disappointed that the first suggestion was to get tested for time extension/accommodations.
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  • Marcie123Marcie123 439 replies33 threads Member
    My D was lopsided on the ACT. 36 and 35 in English and reading and 26 in math. She got into all the colleges she applied to except an Ivy.

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  • 123Mom123123Mom123 227 replies5 threads Student Voice
    I appreciate this thread. My DS is like this. Gives me hope that small LAC’s won’t mind as much that verbal is strong but math, not so much. 3.9 GPA (B’s and B+’s in math). Great SAT subject score (History) 790, and 710 verbal on PSAT as a 10th grader but 600 on math. Smh. Hope more post on this subject.
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  • TheSATTeacherTheSATTeacher 236 replies0 threads Junior Member

    Allow me to defend what I said. I understand the push-back and sour feelings--there are people who get accommodations who don't need them, and not everyone goes about things in the most ethical way--but I think everything I said is perfectly defensible.

    1) I as a tutor cannot give a student extended time. Students have to get approved for that. I play no part in that. I have no one I recommend for recommending students for that. I personally know no one who is involved in granting students extended time or in documenting a need for extended time. If parents want that, they have to go about that themselves. They have to go to a psychologist, go the counselor at their school, fill out the forms and wait for the CB's approval. I, as a tutor, cannot and do not help them in this regard at all. Parents who want extended time for their child do not benefit at all in this regard by coming to me. Indeed, I think it is significant to point out that I made this suggestion WITHOUT anyone paying me. My point being, why would anyone pay me to tell them that I think they need to get approved for extended time? Having me tell them this does NOTHING for them.

    The vast majority of my students do not have or need extended time. Almost always when students ask me if they need extended time, I say no. I realize the internet is anonymous and you have no way of confirming this, but this is the truth. I have only recommended extended time for 1 of my students in the past year. Generally, parents who want their students to have extended time when the students don't need it, will have it well before they ever come to me. Generally, illegitimate recommendations for extended time and other accommodations will begin well before HS.

    2) There are exceptions, though. Some students really need extended time. I work with students 1-on-1 for extended periods of time. I analyze their academic performance at a more in-depth level than probably anyone else ever has. Sometimes I notice things that others have not.

    3) There are many reasons why many students have a need for extended time that goes unnoticed. Of course there are problems regarding affluence, parent awareness etc. But here are some other causes.

    3a) Tests in school are not anywhere nearly as tightly timed as the SAT.

    3b) Some more new-age type schools don't really give their students conventional tests. This is common at some charter schools and private schools--more common than you think.

    3c) Many higher level students can compensate for their need for extended time with their superior abilities. This seems very possible in the case presented here. The student in question got a 790 on EBRW. Getting a score that high on EBRW is exceptionally rare. A student who scores that high is probably very bright. Such a student can often compensate for her needs with her superior intelligence. Parents of such students will often see good grades and will never even have cause to consider that their student is literally slower. It will never even occur to such parents that this is a possibility.

    3d) Non-white students disproportionately do not get extended time when they need it. IIRC, it has been shown that teachers are far less likely to acknowledge or recommend the need for accommodations for non-white students. FWIW, the one student I mentioned earlier who needed extended time but did not have it was non-white.

    4) When I comment on CC, I have to comment on what was said, unless what was said was clearly BS. The OP emphasized that her daughter was "SLOW" (capitalization not mine). She said her daughter "came out of the SAT and said she knew she could have answered all the questions if she just had more time". Furthermore, she said her daughter is a "really, really strong math student". I give these statements a high degree of credence based on her daughter's EBRW score of 790. Additionally she said her daughter got "A+'s in all her math classes". As I mentioned earlier in this post, parents of such high-achieving parents often never even consider that their students might need extended time.

    Let's assume that what the OP said was true. Suppose her daughter would have scored a 770 on math (150 points better on math) with 1.5 time. Do you think such as student needs extended time? I certainly do. Believe it or not, based on my experience, timing does not affect student performance that significantly. If you give most students 1.5 time who do not need it, perhaps they will do 50 points better on math tops. Generally it won't even make that big of a difference on math, despite what some people might think. (If you have a student, you can test this out on your student, if you are skeptical). Indeed, for this reason, I have long been a fan of the CB relaxing their time constraints--it would mainly help students who need extended time but don't have it and wouldn't change most other students' results significantly. Doing this would make the SAT more equitable for many students. The Atlantic had an article on this recently (The Time Crunch on Standardized Tests Is Unnecessary by Natalie Escobar).

    Colleges are interested in knowing how academically strong a student is. If a student is performing 150 points worse on math because of timing, then the student's SAT scores are not fulfilling their intended role, i.e. they aren't giving the college a very good idea at all of how academically strong that student is. For this reason, I think it is perfectly defensible for such a student to get extended time if it is genuinely needed.
    Now for some smaller points.

    5) Sure, it was my first point, but 3/4 of my post was dedicated to talking about other suggestions. I don't necessarily list things in any particular order.

    6) Yes, you should look at tutor's advertised deltas with a healthy degree of skepticism (I don't advertise deltas partly because they are often heavily fudged--also because they are hard to interpret). There are many ways tutors and tutoring companies cheat these. Extended time is one. Only giving stats for students who meet certain conditions (e.g. having completed all the hw) is another. Basing deltas off of third-party tests, or a difficult 1st test and easy last test is another. There are many more ways tutors and tutoring companies mislead.

    7) I didn't see the later post about her daughter switching schools. I am not sure that would have changed what I said. My suggestions should be treated as things to consider, not as things that are necessarily the right solution. This is an anonymous forum where people offer advice based off limited information. I do my best to answer people's questions based on the info provided.

    8) Yes many people cheat by getting extended time when they don't need it. However, there are also many people who need it but don't have it. I imagine this is more common, especially in certain populations, e.g. non-white populations and less affluent populations. There was an NYT article related to this last week (Some Students Get Extra Time for New York’s Elite High School Entrance Exam. 42% Are White. By KEVIN QUEALY and ELIZA SHAPIRO).

    9) Many people always look at accommodations with a great deal of skepticism. While some people cheat the system, many people also get recommended for accommodations by reputable individuals. Many people get recommended by honest, reputable PhD psychologists who can see very easily if a student is faking a need. Perhaps we should be more trusting of such experts.

    10) It was suggested that tutors like me provide workarounds. What workarounds do you think I might provide?

    11) One of you mentioned practice to increase speed. I mentioned this very explicitly and discussed it in some detail in my original post.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 3035 replies5 threads Senior Member
    The UCs don't superscore so they will look at the highest score you submit, I think you and your daughter have to figure out if your daughter can get to 680-700, that would be the only reason to take it even if the verbal drops to 750, those would be better scores to send.

    What was you D's PSAT math scores, if you're willing to share, that could help?
    Also, I'd advise taking Calculus over Stats if the schedule allows it.

    "Colleges are interested in knowing how academically strong a student is. If a student is performing 150 points worse on math because of timing, then the student's SAT scores are not fulfilling their intended role,"

    The SATs role is to assess readiness for college, not confirming or invalidating high school grades, even they could be used for that.

    "While some people cheat the system, "
    Asking for extended time after taking the test is pretty much cheating the system.

    "Many people get recommended by honest, reputable PhD psychologists who can see very easily if a student is faking a need. " "Perhaps we should be more trusting of such experts."

    These experts were bribed to give fake LDs in the admissions scandal and that's just the ones that used Singer, there's a lot more abuse of the system.
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 2255 replies28 threads Senior Member
    Most students would do better with extended time. Why not give it to all to learn their true ability?
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6711 replies10 threads Senior Member
    If you look at the CDS for the schools she's considering, you'll see what the breakdown is for each section of the test. At many of the very selective schools, a 620 in math will be below the 25% range. (I am not familiar with the UCs on this front.) If it was timing, she can get faster with practice. If she mostly slows down on the harder math but can do the easier math quickly, the ACT could be a better test. BUT practice is very important on that one. Given how good her other stats are, it could be worth her time. Then again, she will be a good candidate for plenty of schools, but perhaps not those, with what she has already. It's really a question of what the goal is.
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  • BuckeyeMomX3BuckeyeMomX3 7 replies2 threads New Member
    The comment about top schools not superscoring generally only applies to the ACT. Even Princeton superscores the SAT.
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