A closer look at the news shaping our world today


Public & Private Education in the US

It has been more than a year since the coronavirus forever changed all of our lives not to mention our institutions. The global pandemic, however, has given public and private educational institutions a chance to assess their performance and whether they are effectively serving the students who depend on them. With widely available vaccines rumored to be approved for kids under 12 in the coming weeks, education authorities need to ask how much we have learned about our educational system’s ability to change and how we can incorporate such changes into our post-Covid future.

Coronavirus has also disrupted how students prepare for admission to the nation’s colleges and universities. Trouble accessing the SAT and ACT became widespread during the early months of the pandemic, so higher education institutions started to rethink their testing requirements.  As a result, many colleges have made standardized testing optional and decided to focus instead on a more holistic admissions process.

students in class
Students sitting a test in an exam hall in college

While standardized test scores are not about to disappear anytime soon, their role has been reduced at some institutions. Consequently, there is a greater focus on other areas of the application. In response, many college admissions experts are enjoining prospective students to show off their passions and their personality more fully in the admissions process.

We offer advice and firsthand experience from a high school principal and New York City’s top educators covering a wide range of issues such as government funding, technology, and the common core curriculum. If you are an educator, student or parent who is about to begin the college application process or a student preparing to head back into the classroom, check our recent education blogs for the latest news and developments. We have also included blogs on standardized test preparation. If you need help or tips on how to get ready for the SAT, ACT, or AP exams, this is the perfect place to begin.

High School and College Tests

  • ACT: The ACT tests students on science, math, English, and reading. Students will take the test prior to applying to college. The ACT awards points to students in each of the four sections based on overall performance. A student should seek to get a 34 or higher for highly competitive schools.
  • SAT: The SAT is composed of two sections: English and math. The scores are ranked individually on an 800 scale. A score of 1600 is possible, but any score above 1300 will allow students a competitive edge in college applications.
  • PSAT:  Earning a good grade on the PSAT, or practice SAT, can qualify students to receive scholarships to prestigious universities. The maximum score on the PSAT is 1520, different from the actual SAT, which has a maximum score of 1600.
  • SHSAT: The SHSAT is an exam for students entering one of New York’s specialized high schools. The test is split into English and Math sections, with each being graded separately and the two grades combined for a final composite score. The SHSAT takes about three hours to complete.
  • SSAT: The SSAT is an exam required by all private schools. It consists of two Quantitative sections (which are graded as one), one Reading Comprehension section, one Verbal Reasoning section, and an essay. There is some room for error on the exam, as the SSAT scorers will deduct a quarter of a point for a wrong answer on a question.
  • HSPT:  High school placement test, for 8th grade students applying for specific Catholic high schools.
  • GMAT: The GRE is a standardized test that must be taken prior to graduate school. It consists of two different test options, and students can take either one depending on their area of study. The first, the GRE General Test, is comparable to the SAT in that it tests students’ general math and language skills, which can apply to nearly every area of study.
  • LSAT: The LSAT is a required test for entry into law school, and is scored on a scale of 120-180 points, with an average score of 152. Additional attempts to take the LSAT could harm a student’s overall score.
  • MCAT: The MCAT is required for all aspiring doctors and surgeons. The exam is graded on a point scale that results in a final score between 472 and 528. Be prepared to sit all day, as the MCAT is seven and a half hours long.
  • MPRE: This test examines the ethics of the to be lawyer. The MPRE addresses both rules of law and judicial ethics. The test is scored as one part of the overall Bar exam.
  • GRE: Graduate record examinations, used for students applying to graduate schools in US and Canada.
  • ISEE: The ISEE, or Independent School Entrance Exam, consists of five sections that test different skills- Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading, Math, and an Essay- administered in that order. This test is required for students wishing to go to an independent high school.
  • TACHS: All Catholic high schools within most of New York require students to take the TACHS. TACHS focuses on math and English, as well as some logic and problem solving. Instead of a numeric score, students are given a percentile number, which tells them what percentage of other test takers they outperformed.
  • TOEFL:  This exam is for foreign students to test their aptitude for English. The TOEFL is an exam that assesses the student’s mastery of the English language. The exam is scored out of 30 points, with a score of 16 considered mildly proficient, and any score over a 24 considered very competent.
  • Bar Exam: The Bar exam is required for anyone wishing to practice law in the United States. It is broken into two days, with each day focusing on different topics. The first day covers various types of laws, such as constitutional and criminal. The second day’s material can vary from state to state. The test is scored out of 400 points, and each state has their own required score – though it’s usually around 270 to pass.
  • Academic Subjects:  Tests on specific subjects.
  • AP Exams: Advanced Placement Exams, are offered for a variety of courses, including Calculus, Biology and US History. The test is scored on a scale of one to five, with one being the lowest. Students should aim to get a four or five for acceptances into more competitive schools.

Homeschool vs Public School

  • Home school students vs public school students 
    Home schooling and traditional schooling offer distinct educational experiences, each with its own set of advantages and challenges. Home-schooled students often benefit from a flexible curriculum tailored to their individual learning pace, interests, and needs, potentially leading to enhanced motivation and deeper understanding of subjects. This personalized approach can foster independent learning skills and allow for more family bonding time. On the other hand, students in traditional schools experience a structured environment that emphasizes social interaction, extracurricular activities, and exposure to diverse perspectives. This setting can enhance students’ social skills, teamwork, and adaptability. While home schooling offers a customized learning journey, traditional schooling provides a communal learning experie
  • Key homeschool consideration
    A key consideration for families contemplating homeschooling is the commitment required to effectively manage the educational journey. This involves not only dedicating time for daily instruction but also planning and organizing a comprehensive curriculum that meets educational standards and the child’s interests and learning style. Parents must be prepared to wear multiple hats: teacher, administrator, and often, a student themselves as they research and prepare lessons. Additionally, ensuring socialization opportunities for their children is crucial, as homeschooling can limit the natural social interactions found in traditional school settings. Families must actively seek extracurricular activities, group classes, and social gatherings to provide their children with the necessary social skills and friendships. Balancing these responsibilities with the flexibility and personalized education homeschooling offers is essential for a successful homeschooling experience.

AI in Higher Education

The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in higher education has been gaining significant traction in recent years, revolutionizing various aspects of teaching, learning, and research. AI offers several benefits that can improve educational outcomes and help institutions overcome some of the challenges they face.

One significant impact of AI in higher education is the personalization of the learning experience. Through the use of AI algorithms, institutions can create adaptive learning environments that cater to individual student needs, preferences, and learning styles. This approach allows students to learn at their own pace, ultimately improving engagement and retention rates.

AI also offers support to faculty members by automating routine tasks, such as grading, attendance tracking, and administrative duties. This frees up time for educators to focus on more essential tasks, such as designing course materials and providing personalized guidance to students. Additionally, AI-powered tools can help instructors identify struggling students and provide timely interventions to improve their performance.

In the realm of research, AI is being used to analyze large datasets and identify patterns, enabling researchers to make faster, more accurate discoveries. This accelerates the pace of innovation and helps institutions stay at the cutting edge of their respective fields. Furthermore, AI-driven tools can help match students with research projects and mentors, facilitating valuable learning experiences and fostering collaboration.

While the benefits of AI in higher education are clear, there are also challenges that institutions must consider. Privacy and data security concerns arise with the collection and use of student data, and there is a need for transparent algorithms to ensure ethical decision-making. Additionally, educators must be trained to effectively use AI tools to maximize their potential benefits.

In conclusion, artificial intelligence has the potential to transform higher education by personalizing learning experiences, automating tasks for educators, and accelerating research. However, institutions must address the challenges that come with AI adoption to ensure that technology is used ethically and responsibly.