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On October 16, sophomores and juniors took the PSAT exam, breaking with the past tradition of including freshmen.
According to Assistant Principal Veronica York, the school decided it would be too stressful for freshmen to take two standardized tests within a two-week period, given the new English Language Arts Performance Assessment.
Guidance counselor Sara Skoda feels that because it is only their first year in high school, “[freshmen] may not understand that PSAT is just a practice exam. By your sophomore and junior year you know that it’s just practice and that if you don’t do well, it’s not a big deal.”
Nonetheless, Ms. Skoda maintains that the PSAT “allows you to be exposed to the timing of things and can make you more comfortable while taking the test.”
Senior Anthony Chiarenza mentioned that for him, taking the PSAT during freshman year didn’t help with taking the exam again during junior year. “All the freshman year test did was show us we needed to put some work into the test.”
Though the school is unsure that it will continue this practice in future years, the decision will depend upon data collected from this year’s freshman. In two years, when the current freshmen take the PSAT during their junior year, the school will look at the result. “If the scores are on par with what we’ve had historically, then maybe we don’t need to have the freshmen take the PSAT. If they drop, then I think we’ve learned our lesson, and they do need it,” said Ms. York.
The PSAT is the Preliminary SAT test that allows juniors to receive a National Merit Scholarship if their scores qualify. The test also allows students to receive information on colleges and careers.