Best practices for using The Official SAT Online Course
If you are looking for ways to implement The Official SAT Online Course in your school, our free downloadable case studies will share key lessons learned from educators around the country. As these case studies illustrate, the course is not only powerful and easy to use, but is also extremely flexible.
The Official SAT Online Course can be used as:
- An independent study tool
- A classroom teaching aid
- A test-preparation resource
- A component of core curricular studies in English and mathematics
These case studies illustrate a number of best practices that have proven useful under a wide variety of circumstances. To learn more about each point consult the stories in each case study. Best practices include:
- Advertise, advertise, advertise. There are many ways to promote the course, from posting flyers on classroom walls to placing registration instructions on your school Web site. Use as many as you can.
- Enlist parents as allies. Many students access the course from home. As a result, parents can be powerful advocates for encouraging its use. Reach out to parents through mailings, newsletters, and informational sessions.
- Ensure access. Even if your school has a limited number of computers, try to ensure that students who lack home computers can regularly access the course. You may wish to rotate access to classroom computers or encourage students to sign up for time in the computer lab.
- Provide structure. While the course is an ideal independent study tool, students often benefit from structure. Assigning specific course exercises, setting deadlines, and giving grades can all help motivate and focus students' use of the course.
- Defuse test-day anxiety. Take advantage of the course's timed practice tests to give students a sense of what test day will be like. You can even assign segments of the tests, or individual essay prompts, under timed conditions. Students will be less anxious, and more confident, when they face the real thing.
- Be flexible. Several of the schools featured in these case studies began by using the course in one manner (e.g., as an independent study tool), only to expand their implementations in order to take advantage of its many other uses (e.g., as a supplement to formal math and English curricula).
Learning from one another
The schools in these case studies range from urban to rural, large to small. At some, computers are widely available. At others, computer access is limited. In each case, educators have tailored the course to suit their particular circumstances and to reach their particular goals. We hope that you will find their experiences useful in creating your own unique implementation of the course.