Oct. 6, 2018 — For many students, taking the PSAT is their first tangible step towards college. Created in 1959 by the College Board, the Preliminary SAT (shorted to PSAT later on) is distributed annually to all sophomore students at Siuslaw High School during October in order to test each student’s abilities in math, reading and writing. Additionally, juniors may also take the PSAT, as it is used as a qualification standard for the National Merit Scholarship program.
Juniors and seniors also have the option of taking the SAT, which many colleges use as a reference point for admittance. Taking the SAT is an incredibly important step for attending a university. It can benefit students looking at two-year schools as well since scores on the SAT can replace the need to take placement tests.
In years past, Siuslaw offered the PSAT and the SAT only a single time per school year , in October and December respectively; however some Siuslaw seniors and juniors were required to travel to other schools to take the SAT if they are unavailable to take it in Florence, or if we reach our limit for students who can test on a single SAT testing day (which we did last year).
This year though, Siuslaw High School will hold its inaugural College Board Day, which will be an amazing day of PSAT and SAT testing.
Most schools are only authorized to administer the SAT on a single Saturday during the school year, and each school is limited to one day in October to administer the PSAT. Furthermore, the PSAT is free for students to take, but the SAT costs each student upwards of $60, unless they receive a fee waiver. Even then, students have been limited to the single testing date or they must take it at another SAT administrating school. The next closest SAT testing school is nearly 50 miles away. That situation includes additional negative variables like travel time and testing in an unfamiliar environment.
So Siuslaw asked how it could make taking the PSAT and SAT more favorable for its students. How can we limit those undesirable points of contention with scheduling and cost and at the same time strengthen students’ college-going mindset?
With support from the district and funding from Measure 98, Siuslaw High School will hold College Board day on Wednesday, Oct. 10.
SHS College Board Day, held for the first time this year, will include our regular scheduled PSAT testing for sophomore students — 104 total — in addition to adding an SAT testing time for juniors and seniors.
At this time, more than 120 upperclassmen have elected to take the SAT on Oct. 10, which consists of 45 juniors and 75 seniors.
That is nearly four times the number of students we can test on our December testing day, which we will also be offering this year as well. Moreover, it is nearly double the number of junior students who take the SAT during their junior year. As for seniors, that equates to nearly 77 percent of the entire senior class, which is truly remarkable.
Why take the PSAT or SAT?
Well, not only does it give students the experience of taking a standardized test, but both assessments allow students an additional opportunity to pass their state summative benchmarks for the Smarter Balanced testing. Graduating students will need to take a formalized national assessment, like the SAT, for college entrance and, as mentioned previously; may allow students to usurp the need to take placement tests for writing, reading or mathematics.
Many scholarships and grant programs inquire what a student’s SAT scores are in order to qualify for additional financial aid. Lastly, there is a definite link between students taking the PSAT/SAT and the school’s overall graduation performance.
The more students are exposed to these kinds of testing requirements, the better prepared they are for their futures in school, the work force or the armed forces.
How is this going to work you might ask? All SAT tests, and PSAT tests, will be free for students to take thanks to Measure 98 dollars.
Oct. 10 will also be an early release day, as students will have the morning and early afternoon to test without interruption. Both SAT and PSAT will run a similar time frame, which allows for maximum testing time.
Also, by testing in the classrooms students are accustomed to, the testing environment is nearly idea.
Lunch will be provided after testing, along with busing home once the day has concluded at 1:30 p.m.
Students who are not testing will be separated into specific study groups to work on homework and current class assignments, which allows them a great amount of time to either catch up or in some cases progress ahead. When the day is over, nearly 225 high school students will have taken another step closer to attending college and achieving their career goals.
Siuslaw High School is an institution built upon the idea that students require a college and career mindset in order to reach their potentials. Every year, the district strives to increase each student’s access to academic supports and assessment services. It is with the hope that we can continue to build upon the successes of College Board day while simultaneously exploring other avenues of possible college and career assistance.
With College Board Day, Siuslaw High School takes another step closer to supporting our students in their education and employment aspiration.