College-ready, Set, Go! Underclassmen Dive into PSAT Score Analysis

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College-ready, Set, Go!  Underclassmen Dive into PSAT Score Analysis


This past week at Clemente, our underclassmen received their Spring PSAT scores and spent a great deal of restructured class time analyzing their results. In the months leading up to the Spring PSAT, students rigorously prepared; they learned not only how study for the test, but spent time with teachers and counselors learning how to interpret and understand their scores so that they could set meaningful goals for the exam in April. With the release of their scores in late May, counselors, teachers, and administration collaborated to create a comprehensive, school-wide plan for dissecting the score reports, as well as setting goals for the next PSAT exam in the Fall and for the SAT junior year.

On Wednesday, students received data cards containing their Fall PSAT scores, Spring PSAT scores, unweighted GPA and year-to-date attendance. Using these data points, teachers guided students in measuring their growth from Fall to Spring, identifying areas of opportunity, and setting goals for the next PSAT exam.  The objectives for this day were for students to become familiar with their data, reflect on their strategies and efforts throughout the semester, and develop a deeper understanding of how impactful these scores are in terms of college acceptance. While there were some who discovered that they had opportunity for further improvement, several students saw significant growth in their total scores, some having increased by as much as 300 points!

There was much chatter in the halls among students about their scores as many of them made declarations to do better on the next exam, even those who saw notable gains in scores and subscores. Fueled by Wednesday’s discussion, students headed into classes the following day to dive deeper into their data. This time, students would be taking a more in-depth look at their subscores and benchmarks (which indicate college readiness), their potential for growth, and determining next steps for improvement. To accomplish this, students received their full PSAT score reports and a “passport” worksheet that they took to each class. In one section of this passport, students created a SMART goal, which they built upon in each class throughout the day.

Teachers in every content area created lessons around PSAT analysis so that students could draw on prior knowledge to make relevant connections between class content and their scores.  For instance, in Math classes, students calculated the percentage difference between their Fall and Spring scores, used that percentage to determine a rate of change, which they then used to predict what their SAT scores will be junior year. In each class, students analyzed a different section of the score report and completed class activities to help them interpret and better understand their scores. At dismissal, students had complete SMART goals that outlined their next steps for scoring higher on the PSAT exams to come.

By the end of the week, there was much discussion among students about what scores they aimed to achieve on the next PSAT exam and what colleges they were looking forward to applying to in the coming years. The majority of freshmen were highly motivated to establish and continue on an upward trajectory with their scores in order to achieve their goals for the SAT;  they will take the PSAT three more times before taking the SAT in the Spring of their junior year. It’s never too early to start planning for long-term academic success, which our freshmen have learned intensively this past week. Equipped with solid, realistic goals, freshmen are approaching the end of the school year with plans for their academic futures, and are well on their way to being college-ready.