Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
With students in high school and some uncertainty with which direction their next steps will be, we decided to take a look at ACT Mom so that when the ACT test comes up in the coming year or so, our girls are prepared. ACT Mom online is a self-paced program designed to help students improve their scores on the standardized ACT test. ACT Mom is the outcome of a mom who wanted to help her students do better on their own tests, improving their chances at scholarship money for college. She recounts that she was quite successful in helping her students raise their ACT scores, thus increasing their scholarship opportunities.
The ACT Mom Online Class is set up in 4 sections to correspond to the sections of the ACT test. These sections are English, math, reading, and science. Each of these sections has its own set of instructional videos and work to correspond. The videos go through the section in detail, helping the student learn test taking strategies specifically for the topic. Two of the sections – math and reading – are skills based and so some of the videos are directed at refreshing the skills and helping students think about them in a test-taking way. The other two sections are not based on skills so the videos are a lot more about the strategies to approach the test with.
ACT Mom Online includes the videos and a 3 ring binder that is sent to the student. This binder is used in the teaching videos so it is a bit hard to start the class before it arrives. The binder includes some lined paper, some graph paper, a zippered pencil bag, and a complete, released ACT test from a previous year that is in plastic page protectors. The zippered pencil bag contains a dry erase marker, an erasing cloth, and sticky notes. All of these are important pieces of the program that ACT Mom is going to teach the student about how to take the test.
The premise of the course is that if you understand the type of question, you can do better on the test. You don’t necessarily need to understand the actual information, rather, you just need to understand the strategies. In the reading sections, there are five sessions, The first is a general introduction to the test section. The rest all correspond to the different types of reading passages that will be tested. She talks about how to pace the test and how to personalize that (part of which will require taking the released tests several times to understand which types of passages you personally take easiest and which are harder for you. In the videos, after talking about the passage and some testing strategies for that type of passage, she has the student take the practice test that is included in the 3 ring binder, writing on the page protectors with the dry erase marker. She then goes over all the questions, talking about why the answer was what it was and which questions tend to trip students up most often and why.
In the math sections, she spends some time going over the actual math skills that will be tested. Part of this will include𝛑 the testing strategy about how answers may be given. An example is that while in a math class, students will be expected to plug in the numerical value for 𝛑. In the test, however, the answer will not expect that and will in fact include the symbol for 𝛑. This is both a strategy for time (saving time by not working out more than required) and a strategy for how to take the math section itself.
This program will be of benefit to students who know they will be taking the ACT. It is a program that will benefit the students by giving quick and effective reviews of skills that will be tested along with a review of test taking skills.
As a parent, I have struggled to teach my students to learn for the sake of learning. I was hoping this would be a great review of material that students are expected to know for the test. I was really disappointed to learn how much of this program is just teaching the students the tricks of the trade when it comes to taking tests. If you need to up your score on the ACT, this will likely help you, but it won’t go farther than that and a simple review of a few math or reading skills. I don’t see this being of great benefit to our students. There are plenty of families that will definitely benefit and different families need different programs. That is part of what makes the Homeschool Review Crew such a great resource. Many families used the ACT Mom program and have shared about what it was like for their family, how they used it, and what they thought. Please visit the Crew blog to read what the other families thought.
Lori, At Home.