Wednesday, November 4, 2009
TOS Homeschool Crew Review - ACT - Discover
Do your children know what they want to be when they grow up? When children are young that can change from week to week, but as they grow they need to get more serious about their choices. If your child is not sure what they want to do as a career this program can help them.
The ACT Advantage Discover online program is made by the people who prepare the ACT college entrance standardized test. We found some things to be interesting in reviewing this product. A lot of times, because we spend so much time with our students, we know their strengths and weaknesses. This program did not provide any new information in the areas of Nathan's strengths. But it did show him some things he could do as jobs using those strengths.
The first thing you do after getting your membership is take three tests: Interest Inventory, Abilities Inventory, Values Inventory. Each of these tests does just what it says. The Interest Inventory asks about the things you are interested in. Nathan's results came up just like we thought with a few extra's thrown in. He came up interested in computers, technology and mechanical with crafts and forestry/agriculture thrown in with a few others. Crafts?? But, we were only done test one. Test two is for Abilities. You may have an interest in doing something but what things are you good at? In this inventory Nathan came up with some of the same categories: Crafts, Technologies, and Mechanical and added in there was Medical Technologies which he is not interested in. The last is the Values Inventory. Do you want to work in an office or outside? Do you like working alone or with others? Do you want to be a boss? Do you want a 40 hour work week or flexible hours? These are the types of questions in the values inventory. These kinds of things also help define the job you would be right for. The two areas that came up being in all three of Nathan's inventories were: 1) Construction and Maintenance & 2) Engineering and Technologies.
In each of the areas that come up in the three tests you can check out what jobs are in that field and what that job entails: what do you do in the job, what abilities do you need, what kind of education do you need, and what is the salary like for that job?
On the website there is a Demo you can view. It is near the top of the page in the right hand column: ACT Advantage - Discover
Click this link to see more Features the program has.
ACT provided a free curriculum guide and other resources to help enhance the career planning process also. These came as a pdf download and they helped guide us through some lessons. These lessons were created for classrooms of children but we found that we could use or adapt most of them for our one student/one teacher class. The lessons really added to the program. Doing the inventories and looking around the website was good, but the lessons really got you to dig in and use the information on the website.
The lesson we enjoyed the most though was a lesson where we had to do a family tree of careers. Nathan listed his grandparents on both sides, my siblings and me (his mom), my husband's siblings and his dad and then himself and his brother and sisters. Then for each of them he listed their career. It was difficult doing my husband as he has had so many jobs over our married life and no two of them in the same field, he has so many things he is good at. Nathan wanted to put jack-of-all-trades, but he decided to put mechanic. It was interesting to see the careers of our family laid out this way.
Out of five stars we give ACT Advantage - Discover:
Price: $19.95 for a three-month license, $24.95 for a six-month license.
Would I recommend this program to my friends? Yes, Maybe. If you have a child who does not know what they want to do as a career, then it would be very beneficial. I would use it in 10th or early 11th grade, I think. That is when the child should know enough about his likes and dislikes that the program would be of use but still early enough that you could adjust their high school program a little if needed to help them in their areas of interest/abilities.
I hope you will go check out the features and demo on the ACT Advantage Discover website. If you have an questions please leave a comment.
ACT Advantage also has other programs that we will be reviewing over the next couple of weeks. The Explore and Plan tests which give students a good idea of the kinds of things they will find on the ACT and what areas of weakness they need to work on in the coming years as well as what areas of strength they already have. Keep an eye on the blog for that review, coming soon.
*** ACT Advantage - Discover provided me with the membership to the website so that I could do my review. Though I received this product for free I have given an honest review of it here in this post.
Make sure you read the other posts from my crew mates here and get some other opinions on the features and usage of the Discover program site.