Pinnacle Prep R&D

At Pinnacle Prep, systematic test analysis is the cornerstone of our approach. We also bring that mindset to analyzing student performance. Over the years, our studies have yielded valuable information, some of which seems counterintuitive at first! Our analyses help to dispel common myths. We partnered with schools and college counselors to conduct our studies, and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to present our findings at schools and conferences. Below are summaries of some of our most interesting studies.

If you would like to arrange a Pinnacle Prep presentation at your school, or if you are an IEC and would like us to present a seminar with you, please let us know at 800-665-PREP (7737).

Pinnacle Prep at the 2017 IECA Conference!

We were honored to be presenters of the following seminar on helping students find good tutors and test planning at the 2017 Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) Annual Conference:

It’s All in the Fit
Helping Students Find the Right Tutors, Tests, and Prep Strategies

How do I find a good SAT/ACT tutor for my students? Everyone claims to be an expert! And when should my students take these tests? Help!

In this fun, engaging workshop, we arm IECs, parents, and students with invaluable tools to help them evaluate test prep options and make referrals with confidence. Also, in an entertaining, humorous Socratic dialogue, we dispel test planning rumors. We answer many test planning questions, from whether to take the SAT or ACT or both to when and how many times to take them.

More is More:
The Case for Taking Multiple Tests, Including Both the SAT and ACT

We recently conducted a study on the efficacy of diagnostic tests and the value of taking multiple tests. We analyzed the complete test records of four class years of students from two private high schools to answer two primary questions:

• Do diagnostic tests accurately predict whether a student would do better on the SAT or the ACT?
• When students take multiple tests, do they see continual score improvements?

We found that diagnostic tests were not reliable in predicting student performance on the SAT vs. the ACT. We also found that when students took multiple tests, their scores tended to improve through each test administration.

For these reasons, it is likely in a student’s best interests from a scoring perspective to take multiple tests (within reason) and to take both the SAT and the ACT. The good news is that the vast majority of the content of the two tests overlaps, so it isn’t a lot of extra work to take both.

The students in this recent study come from the general population of two prestigious private high schools, not specifically from Pinnacle Prep students. Across the study, the average score gains of students who took three tests was 238 points, while Pinnacle Prep’s students’ average gains are 360 points. Our students are able to achieve gains that exceed the averages of the students in the study because they follow optimal test plans, do substantive preparation before and between tests, and work with our tutors using our proven materials and techniques.

To read the complete study, please click here: 2014 SAT-ACT Study

Pinnacle Prep at the 2012 IECA Conference!

We were honored to have presented the following seminar on SAT / ACT test planning and myth busting at the 2012 Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) Annual Conference:

Do Green-Eyed Children Score Higher on the ACT?
Deconstructing Test Plan Myths and Strategies

Whether we like it or not, we are inundated with conflicting theories from newspapers, online discussions, friends and relatives about how to plan for the SAT and ACT. Sadly, much of this advice is based on second-hand anecdotes or even flat-out speculation.

In order to cut through the myths, we need to have answers to the big questions we all have. How many times should students take the SAT? Should students take both the SAT and ACT or just pick one? Is there a certain type of student who does better on the ACT? How big is the score boost from SAT superscoring?

In this workshop, we challenged some popular SAT/ACT assumptions, backing up our conclusions with case studies, in-depth analysis, and performance data from hundreds of test prep students. We also suggested evidence-based test planning strategies to optimize students’ chances of success on these crucial tests.