University Select began as things often do: on a road to somewhere else. While navigating the tenure track market for law professors, we began offering simple college test prep tutoring using standard methods and capitalizing on our strengths as teachers.
From the beginning, our teaching methods were effective, but deciphering student performance was a tedious process. It became abundantly clear that we needed to data mine the tests to really start to take advantage of their standardization and to narrow the range of what a student needed to learn. We started using Excel, then an open source database, and more recently an advanced statistical software to analyze all official sample tests and administered tests made available by the ACT and the College Board. Finally, to allow us to teach institutional courses at partner schools, we utilized an online platform to allow individualized processing of student results in bulk. The platform – which we now use in all our programs – gives students access to a series of reports on trends in their incorrect responses, which we organize via an algorithm that combines our insights on test data and our teaching strategies.
At some point, we realized that we had gone from a simple tutoring process to creating an entirely unique way of studying for college entrance exams. We had managed to decrease the amount of time needed to efficiently diagnoses efficient score gains and effectively allow students to consolidate these gains by focusing on very simple patterns and strategies within the tests. In essence, we teach them less to do more.
Our results were profound. Not only are we able to find those hard-fought gains for the very top students needing the highest possible scores to enter elite schools, but we have been able to help all levels of students, including those who do not usually test well and are often lacking confidence. We have developed and refined our strategies on the basis of our data insights. We think many of them push the boundary of what is believed possible for students prepping for a standardized test.