Every year for the past several years, LAUSD has paid for every 10th grader in the District to take the Preliminary SAT on the same day. The PSAT follows the same format as the SAT Reasoning Test, which is one of the required tests for admission to a UC, Cal State and most private colleges and universities.
The PSAT is also the test that qualifies students to compete for the National Merit Scholarship. Out of 1.5 million students who take the PSAT every year, 50,000 receive a commendation based on their test scores the following April. 16,000 students are then recognized as semifinalists in the following September. Based on other academic criteria, 15,000 students are recognized as Finalists in the following February. Finally, from March-June, approximately 8,400 students are notified that they have won Merit Scholarship® awards, which are cash scholarships to help pay for college.
The PSAT is also used with the AP Potential program. This program was created to help identify students who have the potential to pass an Advanced Placement exam.
According to College Board research published in 1998 and 2006, PSAT/NMSQT scores are useful in identifying students who may be successful on AP Exams. These studies show that PSAT/NMSQT scores are stronger predictors of students’ AP Exam grades than the more traditional factors such as high school grades, grades in previous same-discipline course work, and the number of same-discipline courses a student has taken.
As you can see, the PSAT is an important exam, and we are lucky that the District has created this program to offer the test for free. Now to the plan for administration of the test!
On Wednesday, all students will come to school at the normal time. They will start the day with Nutrition, as we all know that testing on an empty stomach is not a formula for success. After nutrition, all students will report to Homeroom. We are testing by graduation year, not credits, so some students will have to move to a new homeroom. If you have a 10th-grade homeroom or 9th grade demote homeroom, you will be proctoring. You are expected to go to the in-service during your conference period or after school on Monday.
On Wednesday the 10th graders will begin testing right away in Homeroom. The other homerooms will need to plan for activities during the hour you are there. You might consider using the time to assist students with graduation plans, college applications, review of their EL reclassification progress, or something else that you normally don’t have time to do in Homeroom.
After an hour, the 9th, 11th and 12th grade homerooms will pass to one of three activities. There will be field activities on the football field. There will be a motivational speaker on college in the gym, and there will be a movie in the auditorium. The exact schedule of rotation will be coming out tomorrow. The important thing to remember is that all teachers are expected to stay with their homerooms the whole time.
If you don’t have a homeroom, you will be relieving proctors as needed.
Finally, after the test is done, we will have lunch, followed by all six periods, each meeting for 20 minutes.
I realize this can be an inconvenience and is disruptive, but the benefits to the 10th graders will hopefully make it worth the trouble. Next year I would like to plan more in advance, and see how we can make the PSAT administration have less of an impact on other grade level students’ instructional program.