Over the past ten years, colleges have increasingly moved to accept the ACT and the SAT as interchangeable options during the admissions process; this change has been matched, however, by growing conceptual and structural gaps between the two tests, gaps which widened significantly with release of the revised SAT in 2016. The end result of these trends is twofold:
- students now have more freedom than ever before to choose which test they want to take
- that choice is now more important than ever before
The ACT is like a series of wind sprints, a challenge defined primarily by its rigorous pace; the SAT, on the other hand, is like an obstacle course, a challenge that allows students more time to work but that requires a deeper level of comprehension and problem-solving as they work. Every student is better suited for one or the other test; as a guidance counselor, teacher, or administrator, how can you ensure that every one of your students is taking the test that fits him or her the best?
Inspirica’s Agnostic Diagnostic is the answer. The Agnostic Diagnostic, or AgDi as we like to refer to it, is a proprietary test developed by a team of professional standardized test tutors at Inspirica with decades of experience among them. This test is designed to capture the feeling and difficulty of both the ACT and the SAT in a shortened format without losing any of the content. It is divided into seven short sections, each modeled on one of the sections of either the SAT or ACT, and takes about four hours to complete including setup and breaks. The test does not include an essay, and nearly all the questions are multiple-choice.
Using this tool, our team can analyze a student’s answer patterns and question pacing to fit them to one of nearly a dozen test-taker profiles, allowing us to make a data-driven recommendation based on their individual testing style. We’re so confident in the AgDi’s ability to offer an accurate and personalized test recommendation for each student and so certain of the importance of that recommendation that we offer group administrations of the test to schools completely free of charge. Here’s how it works.
- provide all the information and systems necessary to register students for their test date, delivering a complete list of registered students to you in the week prior to the test.
- print, package, and ship all the necessary materials to your school prior to the test date, including proctoring instructions and pre-paid return postage with which to return the students’ answer sheets.
- process, score, and analyze the results, producing a detailed score report and personalized test recommendation for every student who tests.
- schedule online meetings with the parents of each student to review the results and discuss our testing recommendation.
- provide your school with a comprehensive spreadsheet summarizing each student’s results and testing recommendations.
- administer the test.
- mail the answer sheets back to us.
- …that’s it.
So don’t delay: contact Nina Abrams, our Head of School Programs, for more information, and make sure that your students are on the right track for test day-success with Inspirica’s Agnostic Diagnostic
What Is the Agnostic Diagnostic?
The Agnostic Diagnostic is divided into seven short sections, each modeled on one of the sections of either the SAT or ACT. The test takes about three hours to complete. It does not include an essay, and nearly all questions are multiple-choice.
The first section is a Reading Test. Students read several passages from college-level fiction and non-fiction works in a format that models the SAT. The questions in this section test reading comprehension with a focus on understanding the development of themes throughout the passage.
The next section is an English Test. This is a fast-paced section that tests familiarity with the conventions of written English, including punctuation and sentence structure, within the context of analytical, persuasive, and first-person passages. This section models both the SAT and ACT, as the two tests are nearly identical in format for this set of tasks.
The next three sections are each Math Tests. The first of these is modeled on the ACT that focuses on concepts learned in math class from pre-algebra to precalculus, with a special emphasis on word problems and abstract algebra. The second test models the SAT in challenging students to complete a variety of tasks in each individual question, which are often presented as real-world applications of algebra and geometry. The third test also models the SAT; it challenges students in many of the same ways as the previous section, but with the added difficulty of completing the test without the use of a calculator. These questions often test multiple concepts at once, challenging students to see connections between topics in a manner that requires creativity.
The sixth test is a second Reading Test, this time designed to model the ACT. As before, students must complete questions spread across three passages, but in this section they are given ten fewer minutes with which to work, forcing a frantic pace that matches the one required by the ACT.
The final test is a Science Test modeled on the ACT. This test is not so much a measurement of scientific knowledge as it is a test of a student’s ability to read and interpret data. Tables, charts, graphs, and figures are the central focus of the seven passages in this section, each of which poses five or six question about the scientific methods or experimental results detailed within. No calculator is permitted on this section.
In a single test session, students face all the major structural and conceptual challenges posed by each test, allowing them to complete two tests’ worth of material in the time it takes to complete one official test. The test takes about three hours to complete, and with setup instructions and breaks the entire testing experience should take fewer than four. The test does not include an essay, and nearly all the questions are multiple-choice. The timing of each section is as follows:
Reading 1: 28 questions, 35 minutes
English: 30 questions, 20 minutes
Math 1: 30 questions, 30 minutes
Break: 10 minutes
Math 2: 15 questions, 20 minutes
Math 3: 15 questions, 20 minutes
Break: 5 minutes
Reading 2: 28 questions, 25 minutes
Science: 40 questions, 35 minutes
Each student will receive a comprehensive score report and test analysis, with accurate starting score ranges and sub-ranges for each test section and composite scores for both the SAT and ACT.
Score ranges are calculated based on data collected from all available official practice tests for both the SAT and ACT. Inspirica’s team of test experts aggregated the raw score numbers required to hit certain benchmark scaled scores in each section for all released official tests, determined the average raw score for each benchmark, and then scaled those raw scores to match the lengths of the corresponding AgDi sections. You can be confident that your student’s scores are based directly on the most accurate data available.
Each student’s results are analyzed by Inspirica’s test experts, who use official score data from both the ACT and the SAT and a variety of performance metrics to produce a starting score range for each test and a customized test recommendation for each student. A student’s test recommendation is based partly on their score ranges, but several other factors are taken into account as well. Our test experts weigh considerations such as:
in which sections the student performed the strongest and weakest;
whether, and in which sections, the student had timing problems;
the student’s relative performance on the Math sections, which represent one of the most significant differences between the SAT and ACT.
Inspirica’s approach to test selection is grounded in the fact that just as the SAT and ACT are not the same, no two students are the same; you can trust the fact that every recommendation we give is based on the strengths and weaknesses of the specific student and how those line up with the characteristics of each test. With our data-driven test recommendation in hand, students can confidently prepare for the test knowing that they’ve selected the one best suited to their individual style.