Scott Weinerth, Delray Beach, is the owner of Best Results, a test preparation service for standardized examinations. For many years, he worked in the Florida public school system, teaching language arts to high school juniors and seniors.
As a high school English teacher working in Florida schools, Scott Weinerth, Delray Beach, was responsible for a certain curriculum. Eleventh grade English classes typically focus on American literature. In twelfth grade, English students study the classics of world literature.
As Scott Weinerth, Delray Beach professional, observed, many of his students were struggling. In individualized tutoring sessions, he devised a series of unique study recommendations, which he implemented with his classes. His students began performing much better in his classroom and in other classrooms, as well. They also began performing much higher than expected on standardized tests like the PSAT and the SAT.
Weinerth had worked with enough students to understand that their fear of these exams was partly responsible for low scores. Part of the work he did with students involved familiarizing them with what they would encounter on exams. The SAT test is considerably longer than other tests students may have taken in the past. While the exam covers a broad knowledge base, there are also questions designed to test critical thinking. There is no way you can cram for questions of that nature.
Best Results offers highly structured tutoring sessions that use actual questions from past exams. In addition to studying questions from exams, Best Results students also take simulated practice exams. This is one of the best ways to prepare for the SAT or ACT.
Best Results started as a test preparation service designed for high school students. Today, however, Best Results has branched out considerably. Weinerth and his staff offer tutoring and prep for exams as various as LSAT, MCAT and graduate school admissions.
Teaching Literature to Eleventh Graders
Scott Weinerth Delray Beach waited until he had retired before he started Best Results to avoid any perceived conflict of interest between his teaching and his business. He loved being an English teacher and opening young minds to the magic of the English language. He worked primarily with students in the eleventh and twelfth grades.
Scott Weinerth, Delray Beach education professional, taught American literature to his eleventh grade students. Though syllabuses vary from school to school, all students are required to pass certain language arts tests that measure performance. Many eleventh graders in Florida schools read the same books so that they can do well upon these exams. A public high school's funding depends in part upon students' performance on these exams.
Scott has a set of novels he likes to explore with young people in this age group. They're written by American authors and explore American themes. Those novels include:
• Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury's novel takes place in a future where all books are banned. Special firemen immediately burn any house that is found to have books in it. The novel's title refers to the temperature at which books combust.
Clarisse McClellan, one of the novel's main characters, is seventeen. This is one of many reasons why Scott Weinerth, Delray Beach exam professional, thinks it is an excellent novel for adolescents. Clarisse acts as an agent of change in the life of the protagonist, a fireman named Guy Montag. Adolescents reading the book can identify with Clarisse and her desire to question the status quo.
• The Grapes of Wrath: John Steinbeck's classic tale of a diaspora caused by bad weather and bad luck earned him the Nobel Prize. Scott Weinerth, Delray Beach, thinks this novel describes an important episode in American history.
Today's culture is based in great part on conspicuous consumption. Teenagers in today's culture are used to having everything they want. The extreme poverty depicted in The Grapes of Wrath can help put things in perspective for contemporary teenagers. This book can help teach them that family is more important than material possessions.
• The Adventures of Huck Finn: This novel by Mark Twain is often cited as one of the greatest American novels. Part of the fact for that is that its setting is quintessentially American. It's difficult to imagine the protagonist of the novel living any place but the American Midwest. The novel's plot is concerned with the effects of slavery. For better or worse, slavery as an institution defined the U.S. in the first two-thirds of the 19th century.
The novel's protagonist, Huck Finn, is a plucky adolescent living by his wits. Adolescents find it easiest to identify with characters in books that are also adolescents, notes Scott Weinerth, Delray Beach.
• The Turn of the Screw: This ghost story was written by the 19th century American novelist Henry James. Weinerth thinks that adolescents will find Henry James's use of language challenging. The plot will encourage young readers to rise to the challenge, however.
• The Great Gatsby: F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel is another work that's frequently mentioned when critics discuss great American novels. The novel relates the story of Jay Gatsby, a self-made man, who falls in love with a wealthy heiress. The heiress, Daisy Buchanan, represents to Gatsby everything in the world he aspires to. Daisy is shallow and self-involved, and doesn't return Gatsby's affection. In the end, she indirectly brings about his death.
The Great Gatsby is a sophisticated book for this age group, Scott Weinerth, Delray Beach, admits. For many young readers, it will be the first foray into figurative motifs and symbolic allusions. Understanding those types of motifs makes reading a much richer experience.
Test Prep Strategy for Teachers
Scott Weinerth, Delray Beach education professional, spent a lot of time designing the test-taking strategies he offers to Best Results clients. He drew upon his own experiences preparing Florida high school students to take standardized tests. He also relied upon the advice and input of educational experts in that field.
Here are tips from Scott Weinerth, Delray Beach, that will help teachers more effectively prepare students to take standardized tests:
• Customize test-taking strategies for each individual student. After students take practice exams, discuss the results individually with each student. Congratulate them on areas where they showed strength. Explain what they need to do better in order to improve in areas where they show weakness.
• Review a practice test in class. Approximately two weeks before the test administer a shorter version of it in class. After each section is completed, discuss the questions and answers with your students. Find out from them which questions seemed hard and which seemed easier. Craft future test practices with reference to the answers they give you in this practice exam.
• Challenge your students to think critically even when they aren't officially prepping for a standard exam. All your interactions with students should help them sharpen this critical thinking skill set. Educators have identified four critical thinking skills:
* Evaluation: Evaluation is a skill that helps students make comparisons between two different ideas. Based on their evaluation, they should be able to come to a resolution about these differences.
* Synthesis: Synthesis is a skill that allows students to combine ideas from two different sources in a meaningful fashion.
* Analysis: Analysis is similar to evaluation in many respects, but it's not a comparative technique. Students should be able to look at an idea and speak to the basic principles embodied in that idea.
* Application: Application is the ability to act in a meaningful fashion based on evaluation, synthesis and analysis.
The Future of Standardized Testing
As a professional in the field of standardized test preparation, Scott Weinerth, Delray Beach, is very interested in its future. Many educators are highly critical of standardized testing because they don't believe the results of such exams prove aptitude.
Many colleges and universities have performed validity studies using SAT scores. Many of these validity studies suggest there isn't much correlation between a student's SAT scores and subsequent academic performance. Some colleges and universities have gone so far as to drop SATs as an admissions requirement.
Nearly every state has adopted a single set of academic standards for high school students. These states are in the process of determining what the tests for language arts standards will be.
Reading comprehension tests will become a lot more sophisticated. Students may be asked to find anchor text hidden in a larger piece of text. They might then be asked to write an essay based on that anchor text.
Math questions will move beyond multiple choice options. Students may be asked to show their work more clearly. This will give test scorers the ability to critique their mathematical reasoning abilities.
Standardized tests may also be weighted to count for a larger proportion of a student's final grade. Performance-based tests will end up counting for 50% of a student's grade in language arts and math.
Accommodations will have to be made for students for whom English is a second language. Students with disabilities will also benefit from the implementation of accessibility guidelines.
Some questions will continue to be scored by computers. More sophisticated questions and essays, however, will need to be scored by hand. This means that teachers may need to be taught standardized test scoring techniques.
Proposed changes will have an enormous impact on the test taking strategies Best Results teach the students they prepare for exams. Some test-taking strategies may need to be revamped from the bottom up. Scott Weinerth, Delray Beach, is confident that his business Best Results will be able to rise to this exciting new challenge.