Today, schools and educators are tasked with one of our nation’s most important missions: securing a positive future for our youth, often with too little time and too few resources. As a parent, I’m grateful every day for the teachers and administrators who strive to ensure my child has every opportunity to receive a quality education, experience a fulfilling career, and find lifelong happiness.
One often complicated—yet critical—responsibility of educators is to help students prepare for success on the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests. These tests are major educational milestones, and students need support, encouragement, and the right tools for the job. Too often, cost, time, and technology can be barriers to meeting the needs of every student. Many of those factors fall upon the shoulders of principals and teachers. It is with a deep understanding of these needs and opportunities that the U.S. Army offers March2Success.com.
March 2 Success is a free, interactive online tutorial and test prep tool designed to help students in grades 8–12 prepare for standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, state exit exams, and the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). It is important to note, however, that this free resource is not used for military recruiting purposes, as student information is not provided to recruiters. Personal contact information (address and phone number) is not collected. The privacy of March 2 Success participants is respected.
Test prep tutorial programs and courses can cost parents thousands of dollars, making them an unattainable option for many students. In addition to being expensive, these courses are often created for the general student population and are not tailored to students’ individual needs. March 2 Success uniquely allows students to pave their own paths based on their personal strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, the free March 2 Success tutorial offers multiple full-length practice tests for SAT and ACT exams, which help students become familiar and more comfortable with the fundamentals of today’s standardized testing.
The curriculum begins with a pre-assessment to determine a student’s knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. This includes standard English and math sections, as well as science components. Based on the pre-assessment results, students are provided a personalized learning path with lessons specific to their learning needs. The interactive platform delivers a user-friendly experience. For example, students can select the length of their learning path (short, medium, or full-length) depending on the amount of time they have available. The exercises can be saved and accessed at a later time to accommodate schedules.
More than 164,000 students joined March 2 Success in 2015. Many of these students were guided by their teachers, mentors, and parents who monitored their progress along the way.
What else does March 2 Success offer? Quite a lot:
- Seven full-length practice tests for SAT and ACT
- A tracking tool for educators, parents, or mentors to track students’ progress
- High school and college readiness online courses
- Interactive flash cards of varying difficulty
- STEM practice tests (social science, nursing, technology, pre-engineering, math)
- Tips and strategies, such as “How to Beat Test Stress” and “Last-minute Study Tips”
- Critical college information on topics, including college planning, the admissions process, and financing college through scholarships and financial aid
- A Student Planning Guide, providing important steps in the college preparation process
Also, with the rollout of the latest SAT exam, teachers can rely on March 2 Success to remain current with the latest standards. Students can take advantage of the updated SAT practice test currently posted on March2Success.com in preparation for this year’s SAT exam.
Regardless of the latest test standards, it is imperative to teach students how to think critically, not just to memorize facts and figures. As an added benefit, March 2 Success lessons and exercises not only show students the correct answer, but explain how to get to the right answer and the rationale for why it is the right answer.
Several of the exercises include electronic flashcards with audio to help students better understand context and how to pronounce vocabulary words. These are particularly helpful for English as a second language (ESL) students.
The nation benefits when its young people are well-equipped for success; therefore, the U.S. Army is committed to providing resources that ensure young people have every opportunity to explore various career options in pursuit of a viable postsecondary path and bright future. As a former soldier, I’m proud of the U.S. Army’s dedication to the education and success of our nation’s youth. As an Army education professional, I am in awe of the educators who have embraced March 2 Success in ways I never thought possible. As a parent, I’m grateful to have watched my own daughter reap the rewards of her hard work using March 2 Success.
Jose A. “Tony” Castillo is the chief of the Education Division for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.