Like sophomores and juniors have done in the past, members of the Freshman Class will be taking the PSAT for the first time this year on Oct. 12, Superintendent Jeff Swensson said. The test, he said, isn’t meant to determine whether a score is good or bad, but rather it is meant to help students maximize the opportunity to improve academically with more time.
“It gives adults the opportunity to say, ‘Isn’t this interesting?’” Swensson said. “It provides for every freshman (an early) way to picture (what the SAT will be like).”
In agreement with Swensson, freshman Mara Paterson said that she feels taking the PSAT will also provide a practice for the actual format of the test and process of taking it as well as gauging strengths and weaknesses in learning.
“It’s good to get an idea of what (the SAT) is going to be like when you actually take it,” she said.
According to the freshman counseling office, the PSAT will not appear on a freshman’s transcript, unlike those of sophomores and juniors.
In Paterson’s case, one of the benefits to taking it earlier, she said, is to be able to practice working within the time constraints of the individual tests. She said she believes the practice itself would benefit her more than learning based off of results would.
In the past two years, freshmen took the PLAN test, a pre-test of sorts for the ACT. Swensson said the switch isn’t necessarily a subtle endorsement of the SAT, but it is simply a response to the fact more CHS students have in the past taken the SAT over the ACT. Swensson said the SAT is more a measure of aptitude, while the ACT is focused on achievement. Paterson said she feels she’d be better prepared for the math and science oriented expectations of the ACT; however, she said she would rather have those of the Freshman Class take both tests.
Regardless, the overlying motive for the district, Swensson said, is to determine early on where certain students can improve, while examine how others can be challenged further.
Swensson said, “(The district can) make sure (it is) finding out as much as possible about capabilities of students.”