Blank gif
Section1
An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
Search Internet@Schools
Subscribe Today!

View Current Issue
View Past Issues

Internet @ Schools

Study Island SAT/Study Island ACT

By Charles G. Doe - Posted Jul 1, 2010
Bookmark and Share

REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

Company: Archipelago Learning, 3400 Carlisle St., Suite 345, Dallas, TX 75204. Phone: (800) 419-3191; Internet: www.studyisland.com.

Price: The cost begins at $25 per student for an annual subscription to Study Island SAT or Study Island ACT. Volume discounts are available.

Audience: Students in grades 10–12 preparing to take the SAT or ACT tests.

Format: Web-based test prepara tion program.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with an internet connection and a recent version of Internet Explorer, Netscape, Safari, or HotJava Browser. A Java plug-in is required to play the games; some of the documentation requires Adobe Acrobat Reader software. As is usually the case, the newer the computer, the faster the internet connection, and the more recent the browser, the better the programs will work.

Description: The subscription-based Study Island SAT and Study Island ACT test preparation programs stress content and strategy with practice sessions that present relevant concepts. Both programs offer full-length practice tests and extensive report and management functions.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: No actual installation is needed for this internet-based program. Users should make sure all of the needed plug-ins are installed on the computer. Before using the program with a class, teachers must enter student names and make a few easy adjustments. Generally, getting started is very easy. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Study Island SAT and Study Island ACT are two of many test preparation programs offered by Study Island for various—often state-specific—tests for grades 2–12.

The Study Island SAT and the Study Island ACT programs were examined for this review; they are very similar programs with test-specific differences. Both programs are web-based subscription services that can be used by students or teachers at any time from any location—lab, classroom, library, or home. This review will focus on the Study Island SAT program.

Study Island has partnered with Tutor Associates, a one-on-one tutoring company, to offer the SAT (and the ACT) review program. The mathematics portion of Study Island SAT helps students master both computation problems and word problems similar to those used on the test; the verbal portion includes practice for the critical reading and writing sections of the SAT.

Animated interactive instructional videos help students learn key test-taking strategies and help them avoid common pitfalls. The program also provides hundreds of printable flashcards designed to help students practice common SAT vocabulary. Practice exams allow students to get a score estimate. Full-length practice tests can be generated on request.

Subscribing users can log on to an opening page that provides specific user statistics and desired reports. To the left of the screen, a menu offers choices including School Stats, Class Manager, Benchmarking (an add-on at an extra cost), Create New Topic (to generate new practice exercises), New Message, My Attributes, and My High Scores. Below the menu is a list of subscription services available to the user’s school. At the top, users can click on on-screen buttons to link to Emailed Report Manager, Printable User List, and Adjust Student Difficulty.

An SAT button takes the user to a page offering three selections: Math, Verbal, and Practice Tests. The Math option leads to a page with nine math lesson areas and more than 50 specific lessons. The Verbal option leads to a page with nine verbal lesson areas that link to a total of 34 specific lessons, a guide to writing SAT essays, and practice prompts. Check boxes offer a direct link to the selected lesson areas. As students work through a subject, their results are recorded on this page as well.

Once users select a lesson, they are taken to a page that lets them select session options including Test Mode, Classroom Response Systems, Printable Worksheet, or Games. In addition, users can select a number of questions for the session, from a range of 1–20.

Each time the Test Mode or Worksheet options are selected, a different result can be generated. The Games selection links to 28 Java games.

The Classroom Response Systems option provides a page that enables the selection of specific clickers for use in study sessions. The Study Island SAT and ACT programs work with eInstruction’s Classroom Performance System, Promethean’s Learner Response Systems, Qwizdom’s Student Response System, Renaissance’s 2Know! Classroom Response System, SMART Response interactive response systems, and the TurningPoint student response system.

A number of Study Island reports can be used to guide future drill work or to drive classroom instruction. Lists of students can be generated with grading options for each subject, topic, or program. A breakdown of class or student usage for a selected lesson area or program can be generated. The reports can break down information on student performance and can compare individuals or classes by school and state.

The program’s Class Manager function allows teachers to create assignments for individual students and to view student progress. Teachers can see class averages, send messages to all students in a class, or make a class page and class assignments.

Teachers can create custom assessments as needed, choosing questions from either the standard Study Island question bank or from a new question bank designed specifically for the Custom Assessment Builder. (The Custom Assessment Builder is currently available for math and reading in grades 3–8; not all subjects and topics have unique question banks available.)

The Live View feature provides a real-time monitoring system that allows teachers to observe the students’ progress as they work. Live View displays the logged-in students in a class, the assignments and the topics they are working on, the number of questions correct out of the number of questions attempted, and more.

The program includes several additional helpful features. A parent notification system automatically notifies parents of student progress by email. A text-to-speech option enables students to select whole questions, parts of questions, or individual words to be read aloud. The message center offers an area for student and teacher communication.

The Study Island SAT and Study Island ACT programs are similar in approach. Both are well-designed and effective, offering a pleasant interface and all the help needed. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: Study Island SAT and Study Island ACT are easy to use, although teachers will need to learn the function of many features to effectively use these programs with their students. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Award-winning customer support free to customers via phone, email, or Live Chat. Email support@studyisland.com or call (800) 419-3191

Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: Study Island SAT and Study Island ACT are outstanding programs that will give students genuine help in preparing for the SAT or ACT. I highly recommend these two programs for all high schools. Highly recommended.

Reviewer: Charles Doe , media specialist, Hastings Area Schools, Central Elementary School, 509 S. Broadway, Hastings, MI 49058; (269) 948-4423; charliegd@sbcglobal.net.


 
Blank gif