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Freshmen score in upper PSAT percentile

This year the College Board tested ninth graders with the annual Preliminary Standard Assessment Test (PSAT) for their first time, Oct. 12, 2011.

According to Academic Adviser Molly Sargent, the scores from this test proved that FC’s freshman class, for the most part, scored above the average of both the state and national percentile in the different elements of the test.

“We participated in a nationwide study involving only ninth graders who took the PSAT,” Sargent said. “Every once in a while, the college board will do nationwide tests to see if the tests are reliable measures of student abilities and skills for a certain year.”

In the critical reading area, the freshmen class scored in the 39-50 percentile, while in comparison the state scored 32-48 and the nation 33-49. Sargent attributes this to the English program that the school provides for students, especially since it has a unique curriculum.

“Because we aren’t a public school and we don’t have yearly state testing, we don’t teach to a test,” Sargent said. “We give the SAT-10, which is a national achievement test, so our schools are compared to everyone in the nation. [For example] we don’t spend a lot of time on grammar and sentence grammar per se. What we do is we teach grammar and mechanics within the context of writing. The teacher does the grammar as they’re discussing the novel.”

In mathematic skills, students were tested in different subjects of math, from pre-algebra to algebra II. FC students scored between the 37-47 percentile while state scores ranged in between the 42-48 percentile. National scores were around 33-48 percentile. Similarly, the freshman class scored on the higher half of the percentile in the writing subject if not more. These scores are not actually surprising, Sargent says that this has been the case for almost the last ten years.

“We didn’t exceed the state or national scores, but more of our students scored in the higher percentile than state and national,” Sargent said. “We’ve always been slightly above the average, and it doesn’t seem like it is, but this much of a difference is significant.”

Sargent especially says that this difference is not contributed to the high school, but in general to the kindergarten through eighth grade program, overall.

“Because it’s ninth graders, they took this test in October, so they’ve barely had six weeks of high school instruction,” Sargent said. “It really says more about our kindergarten to eighth grade program than about our high school. So our high school program as a hole, which is unified in purpose, is very strong and this proves it without any questions.”

As a result of this, the school has been talking about creating a study skills class dedicated to increasing the scores on the PSAT, SAT (Standard Assessment Tests) and American College Test [ACT] tests. The teacher of this class will probably be the Assistant Academic Adviser Michelle Warkentin.

“We’re talking very seriously about starting a volunteer PSAT/SAT/ACT study program at lunch,” Sargent said. “It would be basically called a standardized study skills class. Mainly because the books, we feel like aren’t adequate and if you’re self-motivated that’s fine, but most kids aren’t as much as we would like.”

Sargent says that this course will most likely be an optional class taking place at lunch. After trial runs should the class be extremely beneficial, she hopes the school will make it a required class for underclassmen.

“Our average SAT score is about 1600, and if we want that to go up, we’re talking about using standardized tests out of different places like Princeton Review,” Sargent said. “Right now we’re talking about it being a trial run, but once we get the curriculum down, we might teach it as a required couse. We might require a standardized test study skills class for all sophomores so they take it before the PSAT.”

For more information of the testing done at school, read the Oct. 12, 2011 BRIEF: PSAT evaluates student ability. For more news, read the April 2 article, Drama aims to perfect ‘Cheaper By the Dozen’.

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    Logan RoodAug 17, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I love that we’re back at school, but I am so tired! I hope I get back to the swing of things soon! haha