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When it comes to the ACT and SAT, both exams are widely accepted by U.S. colleges, which often prompts students to ask: Which test should I take?

The answer to that question lies in understanding the differences between the two tests.

Both college admissions exams remain popular even as many colleges have gone test-optional or test blind in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the class of 2022, 1.7 million high school students took the SAT at least once, up slightly from 1.5 million in the previous year's class, according to College Board data. Nearly 1.35 million students in the class of 2022 took the ACT. Though still well below pre-pandemic levels, that was an increase of about 55,000 students from the year before, per ACT data.

It's unclear how many students took both tests, but experts say it is common to do so.

“No college has a preference between the two tests,” says Ginger Fay, global director of partnerships at Georgia-based Applerouth Tutoring Services. “They’re like two children. They love them both the same. They just want them to be good."

The idea behind both exams is similar: to demonstrate college readiness. But the tests vary in structure and timing as well as content and scoring. Both tests serve as an indicator of a student's critical thinking and analytical skills.

"No matter what happens, taking the tests and taking them seriously and giving them their due is paramount," says Elizabeth Levine, an independent educational consultant and founder of Signature College Counseling in New York. "Even if a school is test-optional, it is always better to submit than not submit test scores, as long as you are at a minimum within the school’s mid 50% range of test scores. It will only help support your application."

The SAT is offered by the nonprofit College Board, which also offers Advanced Placement exams and other testing services. The nonprofit ACT organization is more limited in scope, focusing largely on its namesake test.

ACT or SAT: Choosing Which Test to Take

Students hoping to find the easier testing option are out of luck.

"Unfortunately, these are both very high-stakes and tough tests, so I'm a bit sad to say that one is not particularly easier than the other," says Laurel Hanson, director of college prep programs at Kaplan, a New York-based company that provides test prep and other educational services.

"Most students have a preference, but they are two hard exams."

The SAT had long been seen as more of an aptitude test whereas the ACT has been more closely associated with testing students on their understanding of their high school curriculum. Although recent changes to the SAT have lessened that distinction, “even still, I think the ACT is a more curriculum-based assessment,” says Jaekyung Lee, professor of education at the University of Buffalo in New York.

While some students take both tests, experts say that isn't always necessary, and preparing for both presents a challenge due to the differences in each test. Each requires different strategies, and it's best to become well-versed in one instead of going back and forth between the two, Fay says.

To help students make their decision, experts suggest they begin by taking a full-length practice test for each test and see which is best suited for them.

"It's easy to say take both and see what you score better on, and that's fair, but what I would say is take both and see what you prefer," Hanson says. "On either of these tests, you're going to have to put in a lot of work in order to have that strong score that demonstrates what you're capable of."

The two exams may appeal to different types of students, experts say, though it's important students understand possible misconceptions.

Because the ACT includes a science section, Brand says that typically leads students who excel in science and math to favor that test. The science section, however, is a combination of memorizing comprehension and data interpretation, experts say, adding that similar questions are embedded in other sections on the SAT.

“Your memorizing still has to be pretty high for you to understand the science in that section," says Jolyn Brand, founder of Brand College Consulting. "One test isn’t normally stronger for one set of kids versus another. If kids want to take both, I normally suggest doing the practice test online or at home by yourself, maybe the summer before junior year. Score them both, see how you feel about both, then look up the equivalent scores.”

Deciding to Take or Skip the ACT Writing Test

The College Board announced in early 2021 that it was ending the SAT optional essay and subject tests. Currently, the ACT continues to offer its optional 40-minute writing test that accompanies the exam, though it costs test takers an extra $25.

Experts have different views on whether a student should take the optional writing portion.

"The benefit of taking it is that you have it in case it's required anywhere," says Erika Tyler-John, senior education manager at California-based Magoosh, an online test preparation company. She notes that most colleges do not require the essay as part of an application, but "if there's a need for it somewhere, at least you have it in your back pocket. And maybe you do really well, and that's one more plus on your application."

Levine previously suggested students take the writing portion for similar reasons, but she says she no longer recommends it.

Hanson says students should check with schools they plan to apply to and see if they have a preference.

"If the school doesn't have a preference, and the student feels comfortable that their English grades reflect well on their writing abilities, that can take off 45 minutes from their test time, which can be a real benefit to students," she says.

Recent data shows that the number of ACT-takers choosing to complete the optional essay has dwindled. In the class of 2022, a little more than 333,000 students took the writing test, down from nearly 680,000 in 2020, according to ACT data.

SAT vs. ACT Score Conversion

For students interested in comparing scores on the SAT and ACT, the College Board and the ACT organization provide conversion charts to show how composite scores stack up. The table below offers a breakdown of this data.

For the SAT, total scores range from 400 to 1600; for the ACT, the composite score runs from 1 to 36. Those ranges do not include the optional ACT writing test, which is scored separately.

SAT score ACT equivalent
1600-1570 36
1560-1530 35
1520-1490 34
1480-1450 33
1440-1420 32
1410-1390 31
1380-1360 30
1350-1330 29
1320-1300 28
1290-1260 27
1250-1230 26
1220-1200 25
1190-1160 24
1150-1130 23
1120-1100 22
1090-1060 21
1050-1030 20
1020-990 19
980-960 18
950-920 17
910-880 16
870-830 15
820-780 14
770-730 13
720-690 12
680-650 11
640-620 10
610-590 9

According to figures from both organizations, the average SAT test score for 2022 high school graduates was 1050, down from 1060 for the class of 2021. The average ACT score for the class of 2022 was 19.8, down from 20.3 for the class of 2021 and the lowest in 30 years.

“The impact of this pandemic on test score declines was bigger on the ACT as opposed to the SAT," Lee notes. "During the pandemic period, most schools did remote learning, so there’s definitely a bigger adverse impact on some achievement in terms of the test scores.”

ACT vs. SAT Differences

The SAT takes three hours and the ACT lasts two hours and 55 minutes, though the ACT's 40-minute optional writing test would stretch that to a little more than three and a half hours.

The SAT features 154 questions vs. 215 for the ACT. Broken down by test components, the SAT has a 65-minute memorizing test, a 35-minute writing and language test and an 80-minute math section. The ACT is comprised of a 35-minute memorizing test, 45-minute English test, 60-minute math section and 35-minute science test.

While both tests take a similar amount of time, students should be aware that they have different pacing. Because the ACT includes more questions, students have less time to spend on each of them. Hanson says on average, students typically spend over a minute on a question on the SAT and under a minute per question on the ACT.

"That's a big difference for students in terms of what they choose," she says. "We really recommend that students try each. That's ultimately going to be the best way to decide which is a better fit for you."

Some students prefer the predictability of the ACT, in which the four sections always come in the same order, whereas the order of sections changes on the SAT, Fay says. Others might prefer the SAT because each section is a little bit shorter, which may work better for their attention span, she says.

"There are some students who like the fact that you can have your calculator the whole time you’re doing math on the ACT," she says. "On the SAT, there’s a section where you can have it and a section where you can’t.”

ACT and SAT Costs

The costs of the exams also vary and have increased in the past year. The SAT costs $60, up for $52 last year. The ACT costs $63 for only the exam, up from $55 last year, and $88 if the optional writing test is included, compared to $70 last year.

Additional fees may apply for other options, such as late registration. Students may also be able to take the SAT or ACT for free with state support or fee waivers.

How to Be Successful on the ACT or SAT

Regardless of which test students decide to take, the goal is the same: earning a score that shows college readiness.

To help students be successful, experts offer strategic test-prep tips. Some are simple, such as bringing a snack on test day and taking breaks when offered. Others require much more time and deliberation on the part of the student, such as identifying and working on weak spots in testing.

One best practice recommended by experts is to study well ahead of the test date. Tyler-John recommends students complete a practice test every other week if they can, then analyze the results.

"There's part of the test that's the content, and there's part of the test that's the test," Tyler-John says, adding that practicing time management is also crucial. "Practice for the test. Review your mistakes."

Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of Best Colleges.

Copyright 2022 U.S. News & World Report

Thu, 01 Dec 2022 04:57:50 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/careersandeducation/act-vs-sat-how-to-decide-which-test-to-take/ar-AA14MQdw
Killexams : From Paper to Practice: Questions to Evaluate the Real-World Impact of Your Compliance Program Under DOJ Guidelines

Monday, December 5, 2022

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and qui tam plaintiffs are pressing on with their pursuit of healthcare entities for False Claims Act cases and other enforcement actions. Having a compliance program that is effective in practice, not simply on paper, is as important as ever. Here are questions you can ask to assess if your program is living up to DOJ expectations.

Is upper management bought in and modeling the correct behavior?

Compliance starts at the top. Cultivating a culture of compliance requires senior leaders to commit to compliance and communicate the duty to report, sending a clear message that compliance matters. The DOJ will want evidence that executive compensation is tied to compliance so that profits don't take precedence over compliance.

Is the compliance program tailored to your business?

Compliance programs are not one-size-fits-all. You should tailor your compliance program and metrics to align with your unique risk profile. For example, the DOJ doesn't expect a small company to have the same compliance program as a large company. The specific risks faced by your business and your company's size and resources should determine the contours of your program.

Is the program regularly reviewed and updated?

Not only does your business change, but so do the DOJ's enforcement priorities. Compliance programs that walk their talk also live and breathe rather than collect dust on a shelf. Each year's risk assessment processes and mitigation plan should reflect what you learned the prior year.

Do policies and procedures extend to ancillary businesses and third parties?

Most health care companies have a good set of policies and processes for their core business, but processes often aren't nearly as developed for ancillary service lines. The specific risks faced by your business and your company's size and resources should determine the contours of your program and add-on businesses. The fact that a violation happened before you bought the company won't protect you. Make sure that ancillary service lines and new businesses are part of your risk assessment and that you address any compliance gaps as part of your work plan.

Are employees using the program?

If people don't know how to access compliance procedures, they might as well not exist. Encourage employee understanding through education, i.e., email blasts, newsletters and webinars. Remember that some employees are in higher-risk areas and need special training. Evidence shows that scenario-based trainings are optimal. You can assess what employees need by what they are searching for on the website. Know the gaps in understanding, provide employees with anonymous options for reporting and document your training. No one calling the hotline should indicate that employees don't know how to use the system, fear retaliation for doing so or believe no one will be held accountable even if they report, so what's the point? Employees need to be informed, empowered and protected.

Do events trigger investigations?

Establish investigation protocols to determine when a report of suspected non-compliance warrants investigation. Have a properly resourced and funded investigation function and triage process for when you need to bring in counsel and conduct the investigation under privilege. Investigate the root cause of violations and use this information to beef-up internal controls and prevent future violations.

Is your program adequately resourced so that it functions correctly?

The largest health systems and life science companies need sufficient staff in terms of numbers and skill sets. Make sure people aren't stretched too thin and that experienced compliance officers are positioned in senior roles.

Does the board understand its role?

Too often board members rarely have a background in compliance or expertise in this area. We anticipate this changing in the near future. In the meantime, the board must participate in training and thoroughly understand its compliance oversight role. It's critical that compliance have direct reporting lines to the board of directors and/or audit committee and that this body exercise "critical eye review" by asking the right questions of the compliance function.

Why these questions matter

The DOJ issued guidance on the "Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs" to assist prosecutors in making informed decisions as to whether and to what extent a corporate compliance program was effective at the time of an offense and is effective at the time of a charging decision or resolution for purposes of determining the appropriate: 1) form of any resolution or prosecution; 2) monetary penalty if any; and 3) compliance obligations contained in any corporate criminal resolution (e.g., monitorship or reporting obligations).

The DOJ considers a program effective when it delivers results. Use these questions to evaluate the factors of effectiveness highlighted in the DOJ guidance and, if necessary, implement improvements to minimize institutional compliance risk.

Laura Keidan Martin, a partner in the Health Care practice, discussed these questions during an "Ensuring Compliance Program Effectiveness Under DOJ Guidelines" webinar presented by the American Bar Association's Health Law Section.

Sun, 04 Dec 2022 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.natlawreview.com/article/paper-to-practice-questions-to-evaluate-real-world-impact-your-compliance-program
Killexams : ACT Vs. SAT: What’s The Difference?

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Many colleges and universities require students to submit scores from the SAT or ACT—both nationally recognized standardized exams—as a part of their admissions process. So how do you know whether to take the ACT vs. SAT?

Each test is unique in terms of subjects covered, structure and scoring scales. However, both are used to measure students’ proficiency, knowledge and skills in core areas such as reading, writing and math. This article overviews the fundamental components of each standardized test and overviews the key differences between the SAT vs. ACT, including some SAT tips and ACT tips.

SAT vs. ACT

Most four-year universities and colleges require prospective students to take the SAT or ACT and meet minimum score requirements as a part of their application process. Each school has a unique admission process and weights standardized test scores differently.

Generally, standardized test scores indicate a learner’s college readiness, help determine a student’s placement in college courses and can inform merit-based scholarship awards.

How Are They Similar?

The SAT and ACT share several similarities. Colleges and universities often accept both exams as part of their admissions processes and to determine scholarship awards for incoming students.

Both the SAT and ACT evaluate similar topics, including reading, writing and mathematics. On both tests, the memorizing and writing and language sections are entirely passage-based. These sections measure students’ proficiency in key areas that help determine college readiness.

Neither test penalizes students for incorrect or blank answers. Both award points for correct answers.

How Are They Different?

Although the SAT and ACT share many similarities, some key distinctions are worth noting. Below are some key differences between the two tests:

  • Scoring scales and ranges. SAT scores range from 400 to 1600, and ACT composite scores range from 1 to 36.
  • Test format and sections. The SAT includes reading, writing and language, math (with calculator) and math (no calculator). The ACT includes English, math, reading, science and writing (optional essay).
  • Calculator rules. The SAT includes a section in which the use of calculators is not allowed. ACT test-takers can use a calculator for all math questions.
  • Test length and number of questions. The SAT is three hours long. The ACT is two hours and 55 minutes without the essay section; with the essay, it is three hours and 35 minutes long.
  • Science section. Unlike the ACT, the SAT does not have a dedicated science section.
  • Math sections. Both tests cover arithmetic, algebra I and II, geometry and trigonometry, but the SAT also covers data analysis, while the ACT covers probability and statistics.

What Is the SAT?

The SAT is a standardized, three-hour-long entrance test administered by the College Board. This test is widely used by colleges and universities as a part of their admissions processes.

The SAT covers the following subjects:

  • Reading
  • Writing and language
  • Math (with calculator)
  • Math (without calculator)

Below is a brief overview of each subject, including section structure and the themes and syllabus covered in those sections. You can find the most up-to-date information on what’s covered in each section of the test in the College Board’s SAT section.

The memorizing Test

The memorizing portion of the SAT contains five memorizing passages, each of which includes a pair of passages followed by 52 multiple-choice questions. The passages include literature, social sciences, natural sciences and historical documents. Test-takers have 65 minutes to complete this section.

The Writing and Language Test

The writing and language test includes four passages covering various syllabus related to humanities, social studies, history, sciences and careers. The passages include narrative, argumentative, informative and explanatory texts.

Each passage is followed by 11 multiple-choice questions, which fall into two main categories: 1) improving the quality and expression of ideas, and 2) recognizing and correcting sentence-level errors related to word choice, structure, usage, grammar and punctuation. Test-takers have 35 minutes to complete this section.

The Math Test

The math test focuses on algebra, problem-solving and data analysis and advanced math, which requires test-takers to manipulate complex equations. This section also draws on additional topics, including geometry and trigonometry. The math test is broken up into two sections: a calculator-allowed portion and a no-calculator portion.

SAT Structure

The SAT consists of three parts: a math test, a memorizing test and a writing and language test. Most of the test is multiple choice; however, some math questions may ask test-takers to write out their answers. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the allotted time for each section:

  • Reading test: 65 minutes for 52 questions
  • Writing and language test: 35 minutes for 44 questions
  • Math test: 80 minutes for 58 questions

Calculator Policy​​

The math section comprises two clearly labeled sections: Math Test – Calculator, and Math Test – No Calculator. During the no-calculator section, your calculator must be put away. The SAT restricts the type of calculator test-takers may use during the exam. To ensure your calculator adheres to the strict guidelines, review the SAT’s up-to-date calculator policy.

Scoring Scale

The highest score a test-taker can earn on the SAT is 1600. The average SAT score is 1050, according to a 2022 report from the College Board. Participants aren’t penalized for incorrect or unanswered questions.

What Is the ACT?

The ACT is a standardized, multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test that colleges and universities widely use to make admission decisions. The ACT quantifies college readiness among high school students and provides colleges and universities with data points used to compare all applicants.

The ACT covers the following subjects:

  • English
  • Math
  • Reading
  • Science
  • Writing/Essay (optional)

Below we overview each test subject.

English

The English section comprises 75 multiple-choice questions that test rhetorical skills, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. Test-takers have 45 minutes to complete this section.

Math

The math test consists of 60 multiple-choice questions that cover Algebra I, Algebra II, geometry and trigonometry. The ACT does not provide any formulas at the beginning of the math test, so it’s critical to memorize relevant formulas to recall them during the exam. Test-takers have 60 minutes to complete this section.

Reading

The memorizing section assesses your ability to read closely, use evidence to reason about the texts you read and synthesize information from a variety of sources. This section comprises 40 questions, which test-takers have 55 minutes to complete.

Science

The ACT includes a dedicated science section that comprises 40 multiple-choice questions, which test-takers have 35 minutes to complete. The questions are drawn from science-based passages, charts, tables, graphs, research summaries, experiments and opposing viewpoints.

Topics include chemistry, biology, physics and earth and space sciences, such as geology, meteorology and astronomy.

ACT Structure

The ACT is composed of four primary tests and an optional essay section.

  • English: 75 questions in 45 minutes
  • Math: 60 questions in 60 minutes
  • Reading: 40 questions in 35 minutes
  • Science Reasoning: 40 questions in 35 minutes
  • Essay (optional): 40 minutes

The total testing time is two hours and 55 minutes without the writing section, or three hours and 35 minutes with the writing section.

Calculator Policy

The ACT allows you to use a calculator during the entire math test. You must ensure your calculator adheres to the ACT’s calculator policy.

Essay Portion

The ACT includes an optional writing section. This section consists of one essay, which test-takers have 40 minutes to complete. The prompt typically addresses contemporary issues and provides three distinct perspectives. Each student must write about their view and position on the issue as it relates to one of the given perspectives.

The writing test is scored separately from the rest of the ACT.

Scoring Scale

The number of questions answered correctly is converted to a score of 1 to 36 for each of the four tests. Your composite score is the average of those four scores rounded to the nearest whole number. The highest score you can receive on the ACT is 36; however, the average test score was 19.8 as of 2022, according to the ACT. No points are deducted for incorrect answers, and there’s no penalty for guessing.

SAT or ACT: Which Should You Take?

Several factors can help you determine which test you should take. For example, if you prefer having more time to answer questions, the SAT provides more time per question than the ACT. Comparatively, the ACT is more time intensive, moving at a quicker pace than the SAT.

While both the SAT and ACT cover similar math topics, the ACT involves slightly more complex and a broader range of math topics, featuring a higher concentration of geometry questions, logarithms, matrices and trigonometry. ACT test-takers are allowed to use a calculator on every question, while the SAT has a no-calculator math section.

If you have the time and resources, it may be a good idea to take both exams. Since the ACT and SAT differ in terms of structure, content and strategy, it’s possible you may perform better on one test than the other.

Try Taking Practice Tests

Many experts suggest students take practice questions to determine which test best suits them. practice questions deliver students a better sense of how they might perform on the real thing. Simulating the testing conditions of each exam, especially the time limits of each section, can help you gain a stronger sense of how long you need to perform each section and which areas could use some improvement.

On CollegeBoard’s website, you can find a free downloadable full-length practice SAT test. ACT.org also provides a free downloadable full-length practice ACT test.

Do Colleges Still Care About Test Scores?

Recently—and especially since the Covid-19 pandemic began—more colleges and universities have changed their testing policies, placing less emphasis on standardized test scores and instead shifting their focus on other application components, such as GPA, course rigor and letters of recommendation.

With that being said, many schools still require students to take and submit SAT or ACT scores as a part of their application process. Even if your prospective school does not require standardized test scores, submitting strong scores voluntarily may Strengthen your chances of admission.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About ACT vs. SAT

Is the SAT harder than the ACT?

The SAT is not harder than the ACT. Both tests vary slightly in terms of subjects covered and structure. These variations can impact each test-taker differently, making one test more challenging than the other. Taking full-length practice questions of each type can help you determine which may be best suited for you.

Which do colleges prefer, the SAT or the ACT?

Generally, colleges and universities do not prefer the SAT or the ACT. Unless a school explicitly states otherwise, both standardized entrance exams are widely accepted at schools across the U.S.

Mon, 05 Dec 2022 20:20:00 -0600 Mariah St John en-US text/html https://www.forbes.com/advisor/education/act-vs-sat/
Killexams : Illinois SAFE-T Act faces next test in court, where opponents say it violates state Constitution

KANKAKEE, Ill. -- Illinois' massive criminal justice reform law survived blistering political attacks throughout the 2022 election campaign and a renewed spotlight when lawmakers returned to Springfield a few weeks ago.

Now, the controversial SAFE-T Act faces a new test in court, where opponents argue the General Assembly "doubled down" on violations to the state Constitution when they amended it earlier this month.

Kankakee County Circuit Court Judge Thomas W. Cunnington is set to hear oral arguments Dec. 20 over claims brought in roughly 60 lawsuits, now combined, from prosecutors and sheriffs around the state.

He will do so less than two weeks before the centerpiece of the law - the elimination of cash bail - is set to go into effect Jan. 1. Judges are expected to then decide whether defendants charged after the start of the year will be locked up while awaiting trial based on their alleged crime and whether they poses a threat or are likely to flee.

Supporters say the law is intended to address long-standing public safety issues, police distrust and a system that lets wealthy defendants buy their way out of jail. Though recent amendments were unlikely to seriously affect the litigation, a new brief and amended complaint filed Friday confirm that opponents still view the law as "replete with so many fundamental constitutional violations that it cannot be remedied."

The case before Cunnington will likely be the first of many legal challenges to the SAFE-T Act. The lawsuit raises some of the same questions that led lawmakers to pass clarifying changes on Dec. 1. But at its core, the lawsuit revolves around whether the law aligns with Illinois' Constitution, both in its content and in its passage.

The lawsuit alleges the SAFE-T Act violates the separation of powers and improperly addresses multiple subjects. It claims lawmakers who passed the law violated a rule that requires them to read bills "on three different days" in each legislative chamber. It even alleges the SAFE-T Act improperly amended the state Constitution.

But perhaps the most interesting question raised by the lawsuit revolves around part of the Constitution that says "all persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties," with a few exceptions.

One exception is when defendants are facing life in prison. Another is when they are charged with certain felonies and a judge has determined they pose a "real and present threat to the physical safety of any person."

RELATED: Illinois SAFE-T Act 2023: Lawmakers pass revised version of controversial bill about cash bail

Lawyers for the sheriffs and prosecutors have insisted in their briefs that, "The Illinois Constitution interprets bail, at its core, to include a monetary amount that, though it may take different forms, cannot be abolished altogether without running afoul of the Constitution."

State lawyers say their opponents have misread the document. Lawmakers sought to clarify things earlier this month, changing the law to note that the "sureties" at issue are meant to be "nonmonetary in nature."

Still, that doesn't change the meaning "in the Constitution itself," the opponents noted in their new brief.

SAFE-T Act supporters have pointed out that, under the current system, people are often let out of jail on their own recognizance, without posting bond. Opponents call that a "red herring," insisting that judges "cannot be deprived of the ability to impose monetary bail."

"In removing the ability to require monetary bail, the legislature has stripped the judiciary of an essential tool guaranteed under the Constitution without taking the issue to the voters as is required," their lawyers wrote in the brief.

Ann Lousin, a professor of law at University of Illinois Chicago Law School who lectures and consults on the Illinois Constitution, agreed in recent conversations with the Chicago Sun-Times that there are other ways to define "sufficient sureties."

"It doesn't have to be money," said Lousin, who also worked on the drafting of the 1970 state Constitution.

She said the other argument, that judges can't be deprived of the ability to impose monetary bail "does not ring true."

But that raises the question of what can be imposed. David Olson, co-director of the Loyola Center for Criminal Justice, is involved in a four-year study of the SAFE-T Act's pretrial reforms. He recently said the most frequent, middle-of-the-spectrum example of a nonmonetary "surety" would be pretrial supervision.

Defendants placed on pretrial supervision could be required to check in with court personnel or subject themselves to drug testing. That system could also offer support to defendants, reminding them about their court dates and checking to see if they need transportation or child care.

"The challenge right now is, in many of Illinois' counties, they do not have any capacity to provide any kind of pretrial supervision," Olson said.

That's why he said the Office of Statewide Pretrial Services has been established through the Illinois Supreme Court, to offer that service in parts of the state where it's not available.

The most restrictive example of a "surety" would be electronic monitoring, Olson said. Whether a defendant's simple promise to return to court would count at the other end of the spectrum, he said, could depend on a judge viewing it "as something of value."

Olson also said that failures to appear in court could be held against a defendant at sentencing if that person is convicted.

"There ultimately could be a price paid when you fail to appear a lot," Olson said.

Whether these questions are even hashed out before Cunnington remains to be seen. State lawyers argue the judge shouldn't consider the sureties question on its merits. They argue that the Constitution's "sufficient sureties" requirement is a right bestowed on criminal defendants - meaning prosecutors and sheriffs can't claim it as a violated right of their own.

That raises even more questions about who could claim that right, and sue, once the use of cash bail ends Jan. 1, though.

"Trying to find the ideal plaintiff is going to be tough," Lousin said. "That has to be somebody whom this affects personally and very concretely."

Contributing: Tina Sfondeles and Matthew Hendrickson

INTERACTIVE SAFETY TRACKER | Track crime and safety in your neighborhood

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2022.)

Tue, 13 Dec 2022 05:46:00 -0600 en text/html https://abc7chicago.com/safe-t-act-chicago-illinois-kankakee-county-safe-t-2023/12565249/
Killexams : Act Now: This Doggy DNA Test Ships Free for the Holidays

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every pet owner wants the best for their animal sidekick. They want to spend as much time as possible with them, even at the office. But being the best dog owner you can be isn't all about just being present. It helps to understand your dog on a genotypic as well as phenotypic level. That's one reason why doggy DNA tests have become so popular.

DNA My Dog

If you're wondering what to get for your pooch this holiday season, look no further than the DNA My Dog Breed Identification Test. If you order by December 8, you'll get free shipping, but that date is coming up fast so don't delay.

This simple, painless kit requires just a swab of your dog's cheek to get a detailed report delivered in two weeks or less. That report includes a custom photo certificate of the breed breakdown found in your dog's genetic breed composition, a percentage breakdown of the levels found in your dog's DNA, and a report on the dominant breeds, personality traits, and health concerns that your dog may be genetically predisposed to. All of that information will help you be a better friend to your dog, making smarter decisions about food, training, and healthcare.

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Wed, 07 Dec 2022 02:43:00 -0600 Entrepreneur Store en text/html https://www.entrepreneur.com/living/act-now-this-doggy-dna-test-ships-free-for-the-holidays/440335
Killexams : Perfect ACT score doesn't faze Rockford student as parents cheer him on

Receiving a high score is highly desirable for students competing for entrance to very competitive colleges. A perfect score is rare with less than one percent of all test-takers earning it.

The Auburn high school senior, Sinecio Morales paused when asked how he prepared for the ACT test in which he earned a perfect score: 36.

"I didn't," Sinecio said.

His breakfast before the big test also did not stand out. It didn’t involve a bowl of grits, oatmeal, eggs and ham or a bowl of some superfoods.

“I think I went to Dunkin, and I got coffee, and I had a breakfast sandwich,” Sinecio said.

His father Victor Morales said he was more excited than his son when he learned of Sinecio’s achievement.

I was like, I Oh, my goodness,” Morales said. “I didn't know how to act.”

Sinecio said there’s reason why he did not prepare for the test.

“When it comes to standardized tests, I've learned from the past that if I study for them, it actually makes me more confused,” he said.

Sinecio wants to be a surgeon, possibly focused on cardiothoracic, which entails the heart and lungs.

His mother, Deverne Morales is a retired nurse and it's her career that influenced his interest in medicine.

“We've been so very proud of him for working so hard to achieve these accomplishments, Mrs. Deverne Morales said. Sinecio is the youngest of two sons, and she adds that she is proud of both of them.

Sinecio has a mixed background, and while it used to be annoying to get prodding questions about his identity, he said, he’s grown to appreciate being raised experiencing both sides of his family.

“I love my culture,” he said. “I love that I'm mixed. I love both the fact that I'm Black and the fact that I'm Puerto Rican.”

His father is his loudest cheerleader.

Morales says it’s important that families celebrate their children’s accomplishments.

He said he and his wife rather than focus on outcomes, they encourage Sinecio’s efforts.

“As long as you do your best, we don't care,” Morales said.
We keep telling him that look, but since we know what God gave you and the gifts that you have, we're like, ‘Okay, now let's go, let's do this.’”

In addition to achieving academically, he also excels in Quizbowl. He’s been competing in the buzzer-based academic team competition since he was in middle school.

He’s a generalist on the team and studies various syllabus like science, literature, mythology and geography.

“I find it really enjoyable to be able to learn about multiple different syllabus and not just be confined to one thing,” he said.

In a regional competition in November he ranked the top individual scorer. But in this tournament, winners don’t get trophies.

Instead, they select a book from a collection of classics and acclaimed novels spread out on a table.

“And I chose The Kite Runner by [Khaled] Hosseini.”

He studies violin and is involved in his church where he often plays the drums and attends bible study weekly. He also has a part-time job at a pizza restaurant.

When he was younger, his whole family was regularly involved in outreach ministry that included supporting a homeless shelter and a women and children’s crisis center.

“I wanted him to see that, what the world is really about,” his father said. “Just because he's blessed to have two parents, a home and everything that he needs, doesn't mean that everybody else does. But that doesn't mean that he's better than them.”

Sinecio said those experiences helped him to understand the larger community and his place in it.

“It's made me more passionate about my future because I've always wanted to help people because of it,” he said.

In addition to taking part in activities outside of school, it’s, also college application season.

“There's a lot of moving parts to it all at once,” he said.

To keep up with college and scholarship deadlines he created a google sheet. He shared it with his dad, which he’s not always sure was a good idea.

“Sometimes I get on his nerves,” Morales confesses. “I've been asking him, ‘Okay, so this week, what is do? Did you do it? When are you going to do it? Do we owe a fee? What is the fee? What do we have to do?”

Sinecio wants to study biomedical engineering and is applying to schools on the east and west coasts.

Deverne Morales said it’s going to be an adjustment not having him at home.

“I said, ‘I'm going with you,’” she said. “It's hard for me to imagine him not being here. However, we have strong faith in the Lord, that he'll keep him safe from hurt and harm.”

Sinecio said he’s currently focused on getting into school and less so on the financial side of the process.

“Probably even since before I started high school, that when it came to college, he didn't want me to be thinking about money the whole time,” Sinecio said. “He wanted me to think about where I wanted to go for my education.”

His father said he’s praying that scholarships and grants will help ease the financial burden, but he also started a college fund years ago.

Morales owns a trucking company and drives a truck locally.

“He knows, even if I have to work until the day I die, for him to go to college, then I'll do what I have to do,” he said. “These are the sacrifices we make as parents.”

With everything he is juggling, including his school work, Sinecio said he also has time to hang out with his cousins and friends and play video games. It's a lot of Overwatch and Apex Legends. Also, he enjoys memorizing just for fun.

Wed, 07 Dec 2022 01:30:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.tspr.org/illinois-public-radio/2022-12-07/perfect-act-score-doesnt-faze-rockford-student-as-parents-cheer-him-on
Killexams : Questions arise on whether more is better in PRT market

Corporate plan sponsors must avoid the complacency of believing these transactions are commonplace, said Stephen Keating, Stamford, Conn.-based managing director at BCG Penbridge, part of BCG Pension Risk Consultants Inc.

The firm provides independent fiduciary services for transactions averaging $20 million each, Mr. Keating said.

"The level of scrutiny and expertise is increasing, so plan sponsors from my perspective need to view this as a very high-value exercise ultimately to protect the participants in the plan," Mr. Keating said.

He added plan sponsors need to reset the rigor of their processes because even if they are going to hire a sole independent fiduciary, there is still a selection process by an in-house fiduciary and they still have the responsibility of monitoring the independent fiduciary.

Fiduciaries often employ the services of an independent expert to look at the creditworthiness of each potential insurer.

One firm providing expertise is Agilis Partners LLC, the former U.S. business of River and Mercantile. James Walton, Waltham, Mass.-based managing director, said in an interview their analysis of insurance companies will result in a "pass/fail" judgment they will pass on to the fiduciaries.

"Typically the independent expert opines as to whether the insurer is the safest annuity available, and once they pass the test the fiduciary will then select the insurer," Mr. Walton said.

Often, corporations will select the passed insurer that offers the best price, "but that isn't always the case," Mr. Walton said.

"Particularly, some committees place more value on the administration and the participant experience," he said. Also, "it's a minority of cases, but we do see some committees taking it upon themselves not to select one or two insurers, rightly or wrongly, as more risky."

Mr. Walton said one of the reasons that the PRT market has been able to take on more insurers is because of separate accounts used to house the liabilities of plan participants, rather than placing those liabilities in the insurers' general accounts.

"The use of separate accounts, which substantially increases the security of the benefits, is one of the innovations in the past five and 10 years," Mr. Walton said. "The use of separate accounts, I think, has been an important factor in terms of getting comfortable with some of the new entrants."

The separate account provides a separate book of record for the assets and liabilities, so that if an insurance company fails, the assets of the separate account can only be used against those relevant liabilities, adding an extra level of security for those assets.

"One of the big takeaways from our perspective: there is rarely a single criteria that would fail an insurer," said Michael Clark, Denver-based managing director at Agilis, also in the interview. "You really have to take things as a whole. There's the six criteria that DOL 95-1 spells out, and there are others."

Mr. Walton did not provide specific information on insurance companies that failed Agilis' analysis, but mentioned that the firm has failed some insurers that attempted to bid on transaction volumes above their capacity.

Sun, 11 Dec 2022 14:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.pionline.com/pension-risk-transfer/questions-arise-about-whether-more-better-pension-risk-transfer-marketplace
Killexams : Was Elon Musk’s Neuralink conducting bad science? Bioethicists are raising questions about the brain-tech startup

Elon Musk’s medical-device startup Neuralink, whose brain-computer interface for patients with paralysis was recently touted as being on the verge of beginning human trials, has come under federal scrutiny for alleged animal-welfare violations.

The probe, opened by the Department of Agriculture at the behest of a federal prosecutor, came amid a staff outcry that the company’s testing is being done hastily, causing extraneous pain and death to animals, per a recent Reuters exposé on both the investigation and internal complaints.

Over the four years Neuralink has been testing its brain implant, according to the report, some 1,500 animals have died. 

In and of itself, the count isn’t necessarily indicative of a violation of standard research practice or of the Animal Welfare Act, which sets the parameters for how researchers need to treat and test animals. 

Yet, employees have raised red flags about their work culture, namely that Musk has set unrealistic demands for speed. Those demands, they claim, have caused them to sweat deadlines and make last-minute changes to surgeries, resulting in slip-ups in scientific procedures that then need to be repeated, compounding the loss of life.

In one instance, Reuters noted based on interviews with 20 current and former Neuralink staffers in addition to the wire service’s review of internal documents, 25 out of 60 pigs had the wrong-sized device implanted in their heads. Another involved botched surgeries that left one employee warning of the need to prevent further “hack jobs.”

Musk defenders tend to have a field day with anything related to the world’s richest man, new Twitter owner and Tesla/SpaceX CEO. Thus, the optics around its high-profile CEO/co-founder have no doubt intensified the spotlight on Neuralink.

However, the revelations portray a leader hell-bent on making faster progress. Rival startup, Synchron which, like Neuralink was also founded in 2016 to develop a brain-computer interface, has beaten it to the clinical trials stage, while notching a comparatively low 80 animal deaths, Reuters pointed out. 

This also isn’t the first time questions have been raised around Neuralink’s use of research animals taking place at the California National Primate Research Center. Mostly, those questions have come from the group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), which has brought to light the often gory details of Neuralink’s cranial experiments.

What’s not clear at this point is the full scope of the federal probe, how it overlaps with the staff accusations, and the extent to which ethical or legal lines may have been crossed. 

To that end, Paul Root Wolpe, PhD, who is the Raymond Schinazi professor of bioethics and director, Center for Ethics at Emory University, spoke with MM+M about the case. 

Earlier in his career, Wolpe took part in discussions both at the University of Pennsylvania and NASA about animal welfare. As part of his role at Emory, he currently consults on ethical issues, including those involving animal research.

The following interview has been edited and condensed.

Marc Iskowitz, MM+M: Do you have an overall comment before we get into the details of the Neuralink case? 

Paul Root Wolpe, Emory University: There are a couple of different factors at play here. First of all, animals in research are always a means to an end. Because of that, there’s always the potential for violating their welfare, whether in businesses, laboratories or universities. There’s always pressure to try to get the result, and that’s why we put the Animal Welfare Act and public health policies in place to try to prevent that, to the degree possible. 

Part of the problem is there’s more oversight in universities and other institutions who get federal grants. But there’s another layer of protection when you have a grant — from the National Institutes of Health or some other institution — that isn’t there when you don’t, and especially isn’t there in business. We have to be especially vigilant when it comes to private businesses and these animals. 

The other important thing to say is that the Animal Welfare Act specifically excludes rats, mice and birds from its oversight. When it comes to how research facilities treat those types of animals, there’s even less protection and much more opportunity for abuse. 

MM+M: Neuralink has tested sheep, pigs and monkeys. Are they all covered by the Act? 

Wolpe: Monkeys are; mice, rats and birds are not. 

MM+M: So, U.S. regulations exclude those types of animals. They also don’t specify how many animals companies can use for research. They seem to deliver significant leeway to scientists to determine when and how to use animals and experiments. I should note that regulatory filings show Neuralink’s facilities have passed all of their USDA inspections

Whether killing animals in the pursuit of science is necessary is a separate issue. But are these 1,500 deaths something that we should just chalk up to science or is there a point where one faults the researcher for causing needless harm? 

Wolpe: Right, so there’s no way to evaluate whether 1,500 animals is too many or not. Everything depends on how long it’s been going on, how many different research projects are involved, etc. What’s more important is to ask the question, “Given the goals of the project, is the organization doing everything possible to – first of all – minimize the number of animals used? And second of all, to be stewards of their welfare?” We don’t know the answer with Neuralink.

However, there seems to be enough smoke to believe that there’s fire. There are employees who have resigned over the treatment of animals, who have complained about [the company]. What makes the case a little more complicated is that so much of the research is being done at UC Davis Primate Center, and that center should come squarely under the increased protections provided by the public health service. 

Any institution that takes any federal money has to follow those rules in all of its animal research, even in its animal research not covered by the federal money. That’s the deal you make with the federal government when you accept a federal grant. The UC Davis Primate Center should be covered by these higher-level protections. 

Now, I don’t know if Neuralink does research anywhere else, but there were also complaints about pigs and other animals. I don’t know where they do that research, so I don’t know whether those other animals are also covered by these federal guidelines that are on top of the Animal Welfare Act or not. 

MM+M: UC Davis is where the first complaints about the company’s testing arose, after PCRM filed a complaint with the USDA accusing Neuralink of botching surgeries that killed monkeys and aired the findings publically. 

To your earlier comment, this is taking place within an academic institution. One would think the project would thus come under more oversight to prevent these kinds of violations. 

Wolpe: UC Davis should have an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), which is responsible for overseeing any animal use. 

All of the primate research should have been reviewed by the institution’s IACUC. It’s their responsibility to both screen the studies – making sure that they’re reasonable to begin with, that they’re not just frivolous or aren’t using animals for no purpose – and then to look at the animal protections that are being put into place. 

They need to make sure the animals aren’t experiencing pain, that their environments are correct, their food is adequate, they’re getting groomed and cared for by the animal techs. The IACUC should have reviewed anything that happened at UC Davis, and then should oversee it in the sense that they should get reports back, such as if adverse events happen that weren’t part of the protocol. 

I’m not privy to which studies the IACUC approved. The committee often says, “You can do this under the following conditions,” and changes the protocol in some way if they find something inadequate. I have no idea if the IACUC altered any of Neuralink studies to increase animal protection or how much it has reviewed what has been going on. But they’re the real institutional barrier to animal abuse. They’re the structure that we put in place in universities to oversee animal health, not the only one but the primary one. They’re at every university that does any animal research. 

The IACUC is supposed to protect mice and rats as much as it’s supposed to protect monkeys. It’s not subject to the Animal Welfare Act. It is supposed to protect any research done at an institution, especially one that gets any federal money. 

MM+M: What does Neuralink need to suss out that it’s exposing so many animals to this deadly harm? 

Wolpe: The important thing here is that the reports we’re getting are that there’s such enormous pressure to move quickly, that the animals are the ones being sacrificed and are suffering. 

Also, as someone who’s worked in science my whole life, it would deliver any scientist pause to hear that they’re pushing the research so fast that they’re having to redo experiments with animals because the pressure has fouled those experiments. The reason that’s worrisome is that in a situation where you have a lot of pressure to get things done quickly and you are seeing mistakes being made in science, the suffering of the animals is a secondary effect of bad science. 

It’s bad science that is also worrisome here, that the pressure to get these products to market is so great that the science is being sacrificed and the animal suffering is a byproduct of bad science. What we seem to be memorizing is that they had to redo experiments and sacrifice more animals because of the science not being done carefully and methodically. There is a tension between the desire to get a product to market and the need to make sure that it’s safe. This is true in all medical instrumentation and development, whether it’s a heart stent or some other new medical device.

There’s always pressure to get to market and always the important steps of scientific validation because it’s going into the human body. When you’re dealing with brain prosthetics or brain devices, it’s that much more important. Mechanisms that go awry in the brain have a profound impact on human beings. Equally worrisome to the animal suffering is the question of how good science is.

One article I read said that Musk wants to start human experimentation in six months. Well, that’s going to have to go through human subject protection committees. If I was on that committee, I would be very, very wary of the animal experimentation flaws. 

MM+M: If the researchers are killing that many animals, what does that say about the safety of the underlying technology? Are you commenting on that or are you saying it’s just not being carried out properly? 

Wolpe: Something subtler than that. Yes, it makes you worry about the underlying technology, but not because the technology is problematic but because the science seems to be problematic. They have to repeat experiments because they did such bad science. 

Then you have to ask, “Well, if your science is so flawed that you’re ruining experiments and having to repeat them, then how much trust can I have in the scientific results you’re reporting to me?” 

The most important thing in these kinds of cases is trust in what the company is reporting to the federal agency. 

Pharmaceutical companies are careful about that. They deliver reams of paper trying to show what the scientific results were of their studies, to show that their drugs are safe. As soon as the federal agency begins to worry about whether the science itself is valid, then you’ve got a real problem. 

If I were reviewing Neuralink’s move to human experimentation, I would be scrupulous at examining that science, looking for flaws and looking for reports that seem to be cast in a positive light when the genuine data shows more problems. They have set up a situation where there’s reason to mistrust science.

MM+M: So the animal deaths may just be a side effect of that breakdown in the scientific process, aside from the underlying technology which the experiments are trying to suss out?

Wolpe: Right. Remember that a lot of these animals get killed intentionally. That is, you do an experiment and then you intentionally — they call it “sacrificing” because they don’t want to say “killing” to the public — to do a postmortem, take out its brain and see if your device caused any problems in the brain. The deaths themselves are not the issue because almost all of these animals are going to end up dead at the end. 

What’s problematic is the reports that we’re getting, that research had to be repeated; because after the research was over and all these animals were sacrificed, it turned out that the research was flawed so that the deaths of these animals was not useful. It meant nothing. You couldn’t use that data because the research was bad. That’s what concerns me. Yes, the research itself seems to be less than careful, and having to repeat research more than once, which is what the reports are saying, is a big red flag. 

MM+M: To your earlier point, should moving to human trials deliver us pause?

Wolpe: I would say “yes,” until the questions that these complaints have raised have been fully investigated and resolved. The applications for human subject trials should be looked at very, very carefully. There are many people who think that animal trials shouldn’t be conducted at all. But making the same mistakes in human trials is uncontroversially a threat. So you need to make sure that when human trials start, they are at the highest level of science.

MM+M: Finally, how atypical is it for the USDA inspector general to be asked to investigate an animal research facility?

Wolpe: It happens. I don’t know the genuine frequency, but there’s also politics here. Elon Musk these days is about as high-profile a human being out there. It would be different if this were some obscure tech startup with exactly the same problems. Because it’s Neuralink, it gets far more media and public scrutiny — the Musk-a-phobes are all on top of this. There’s an optics issue here as well and that’s part of the reason why it went all the way up to the top. 

Thu, 08 Dec 2022 06:18:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.mmm-online.com/home/channel/was-elon-musks-neuralink-conducting-bad-science-bioethicists-are-raising-questions-about-the-brain-tech-startup/
Killexams : AI Bias: The EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act is Coming – You Need to be Ready

Will my loan application be rejected? Will my job application fail screening checks? Will my insurance premiums go up? Around the world, life-changing questions such as these are increasingly being answered by artificial intelligence (AI).

The assumption is that machines will come to fairer conclusions than humans by crunching data and spitting out dispassionate – and therefore unbiased – responses. But because they are trained on data provided, selected, annotated, inputted and updated by humans, the reality is that AI systems are prone to prejudice. Baked-in biases that go unnoticed and unchallenged can be perpetuated and amplified, leaving even the experts at a loss to explain how an algorithm reached its conclusions.

Mon, 12 Dec 2022 20:00:00 -0600 en-us text/html https://www.law.com/international-edition/2022/12/13/ai-bias-the-eus-artificial-intelligence-act-is-coming-you-need-to-be-ready/?slreturn=20221114044929
Killexams : ACT vs. SAT: How to Decide Which Test to Take

When it comes to the ACT and SAT, both exams are widely accepted by U.S. colleges, which often prompts students…

When it comes to the ACT and SAT, both exams are widely accepted by U.S. colleges, which often prompts students to ask: Which test should I take?

[READ: How to Tackle SAT, ACT Vocabulary Questions.]

The answer to that question lies in understanding the differences between the two tests.

Both college admissions exams remain popular even as many colleges have gone test-optional or test blind in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the class of 2022, 1.7 million high school students took the SAT at least once, up slightly from 1.5 million in the previous year’s class, according to College Board data. Nearly 1.35 million students in the class of 2022 took the ACT. Though still well below pre-pandemic levels, that was an increase of about 55,000 students from the year before, per ACT data.

It’s unclear how many students took both tests, but experts say it is common to do so.

“No college has a preference between the two tests,” says Ginger Fay, global director of partnerships at Georgia-based Applerouth Tutoring Services. “They’re like two children. They love them both the same. They just want them to be good.”

The idea behind both exams is similar: to demonstrate college readiness. But the tests vary in structure and timing as well as content and scoring. Both tests serve as an indicator of a student’s critical thinking and analytical skills.

“No matter what happens, taking the tests and taking them seriously and giving them their due is paramount,” says Elizabeth Levine, an independent educational consultant and founder of Signature College Counseling in New York. “Even if a school is test-optional, it is always better to submit than not submit test scores, as long as you are at a minimum within the school’s mid 50% range of test scores. It will only help support your application.”

[See: 25 Colleges With the Highest SAT Scores.]

The SAT is offered by the nonprofit College Board, which also offers Advanced Placement exams and other testing services. The nonprofit ACT organization is more limited in scope, focusing largely on its namesake test.

ACT or SAT: Choosing Which Test to Take

Students hoping to find the easier testing option are out of luck.

“Unfortunately, these are both very high-stakes and tough tests, so I’m a bit sad to say that one is not particularly easier than the other,” says Laurel Hanson, director of college prep programs at Kaplan, a New York-based company that provides test prep and other educational services.

“Most students have a preference, but they are two hard exams.”

The SAT had long been seen as more of an aptitude test whereas the ACT has been more closely associated with testing students on their understanding of their high school curriculum. Although recent changes to the SAT have lessened that distinction, “even still, I think the ACT is a more curriculum-based assessment,” says Jaekyung Lee, professor of education at the University of Buffalo in New York.

While some students take both tests, experts say that isn’t always necessary, and preparing for both presents a challenge due to the differences in each test. Each requires different strategies, and it’s best to become well-versed in one instead of going back and forth between the two, Fay says.

To help students make their decision, experts suggest they begin by taking a full-length practice test for each test and see which is best suited for them.

“It’s easy to say take both and see what you score better on, and that’s fair, but what I would say is take both and see what you prefer,” Hanson says. “On either of these tests, you’re going to have to put in a lot of work in order to have that strong score that demonstrates what you’re capable of.”

The two exams may appeal to different types of students, experts say, though it’s important students understand possible misconceptions.

Because the ACT includes a science section, Brand says that typically leads students who excel in science and math to favor that test. The science section, however, is a combination of memorizing comprehension and data interpretation, experts say, adding that similar questions are embedded in other sections on the SAT.

“Your memorizing still has to be pretty high for you to understand the science in that section,” says Jolyn Brand, founder of Brand College Consulting. “One test isn’t normally stronger for one set of kids versus another. If kids want to take both, I normally suggest doing the practice test online or at home by yourself, maybe the summer before junior year. Score them both, see how you feel about both, then look up the equivalent scores.”

[Read: When to Take the SAT, ACT.]

Deciding to Take or Skip the ACT Writing Test

The College Board announced in early 2021 that it was ending the SAT optional essay and subject tests. Currently, the ACT continues to offer its optional 40-minute writing test that accompanies the exam, though it costs test takers an extra $25.

Experts have different views on whether a student should take the optional writing portion.

“The benefit of taking it is that you have it in case it’s required anywhere,” says Erika Tyler-John, senior education manager at California-based Magoosh, an online test preparation company. She notes that most colleges do not require the essay as part of an application, but “if there’s a need for it somewhere, at least you have it in your back pocket. And maybe you do really well, and that’s one more plus on your application.”

Levine previously suggested students take the writing portion for similar reasons, but she says she no longer recommends it.

Hanson says students should check with schools they plan to apply to and see if they have a preference.

“If the school doesn’t have a preference, and the student feels comfortable that their English grades reflect well on their writing abilities, that can take off 45 minutes from their test time, which can be a real benefit to students,” she says.

Recent data shows that the number of ACT-takers choosing to complete the optional essay has dwindled. In the class of 2022, a little more than 333,000 students took the writing test, down from nearly 680,000 in 2020, according to ACT data.

SAT vs. ACT Score Conversion

For students interested in comparing scores on the SAT and ACT, the College Board and the ACT organization provide conversion charts to show how composite scores stack up. The table below offers a breakdown of this data.

For the SAT, total scores range from 400 to 1600; for the ACT, the composite score runs from 1 to 36. Those ranges do not include the optional ACT writing test, which is scored separately.

SAT score ACT equivalent
1600-1570 36
1560-1530 35
1520-1490 34
1480-1450 33
1440-1420 32
1410-1390 31
1380-1360 30
1350-1330 29
1320-1300 28
1290-1260 27
1250-1230 26
1220-1200 25
1190-1160 24
1150-1130 23
1120-1100 22
1090-1060 21
1050-1030 20
1020-990 19
980-960 18
950-920 17
910-880 16
870-830 15
820-780 14
770-730 13
720-690 12
680-650 11
640-620 10
610-590 9

According to figures from both organizations, the average SAT test score for 2022 high school graduates was 1050, down from 1060 for the class of 2021. The average ACT score for the class of 2022 was 19.8, down from 20.3 for the class of 2021 and the lowest in 30 years.

“The impact of this pandemic on test score declines was bigger on the ACT as opposed to the SAT,” Lee notes. “During the pandemic period, most schools did remote learning, so there’s definitely a bigger adverse impact on some achievement in terms of the test scores.”

ACT vs. SAT Differences

The SAT takes three hours and the ACT lasts two hours and 55 minutes, though the ACT’s 40-minute optional writing test would stretch that to a little more than three and a half hours.

The SAT features 154 questions vs. 215 for the ACT. Broken down by test components, the SAT has a 65-minute memorizing test, a 35-minute writing and language test and an 80-minute math section. The ACT is comprised of a 35-minute memorizing test, 45-minute English test, 60-minute math section and 35-minute science test.

While both tests take a similar amount of time, students should be aware that they have different pacing. Because the ACT includes more questions, students have less time to spend on each of them. Hanson says on average, students typically spend over a minute on a question on the SAT and under a minute per question on the ACT.

“That’s a big difference for students in terms of what they choose,” she says. “We really recommend that students try each. That’s ultimately going to be the best way to decide which is a better fit for you.”

[Read: How Long the SAT Is and How to Manage That Time.]

Some students prefer the predictability of the ACT, in which the four sections always come in the same order, whereas the order of sections changes on the SAT, Fay says. Others might prefer the SAT because each section is a little bit shorter, which may work better for their attention span, she says.

“There are some students who like the fact that you can have your calculator the whole time you’re doing math on the ACT,” she says. “On the SAT, there’s a section where you can have it and a section where you can’t.”

ACT and SAT Costs

The costs of the exams also vary and have increased in the past year. The SAT costs $60, up for $52 last year. The ACT costs $63 for only the exam, up from $55 last year, and $88 if the optional writing test is included, compared to $70 last year.

Additional fees may apply for other options, such as late registration. Students may also be able to take the SAT or ACT for free with state support or fee waivers.

How to Be Successful on the ACT or SAT

Regardless of which test students decide to take, the goal is the same: earning a score that shows college readiness.

[READ: What to know about SAT prep classes.]

To help students be successful, experts offer strategic test-prep tips. Some are simple, such as bringing a snack on test day and taking breaks when offered. Others require much more time and deliberation on the part of the student, such as identifying and working on weak spots in testing.

One best practice recommended by experts is to study well ahead of the test date. Tyler-John recommends students complete a practice test every other week if they can, then analyze the results.

“There’s part of the test that’s the content, and there’s part of the test that’s the test,” Tyler-John says, adding that practicing time management is also crucial. “Practice for the test. Review your mistakes.”

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More from U.S. News

How to Decide if You’re Ready for College

Understand What’s a Good ACT Score for College Admissions

Questions to Ask Your High School Counselor When Applying to College

ACT vs. SAT: How to Decide Which Test to Take originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 12/01/22: The story was previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

Wed, 30 Nov 2022 05:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://wtop.com/news/2022/11/act-vs-sat-how-to-decide-which-test-to-take/
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