The PSAT Is Coming!! Now What??

The PSAT is coming up in about two weeks.  As a lead teacher, how does that affect you and what might you do to get ready for it?  Responsibilities for lead teachers vary widely.  In my school, the district pays for all sophomore and juniors to take the PSAT during the school day as well as the freshmen who are in AVID.  Most of the PSAT preparation (in terms of planning and administering) falls to our fabulous counseling department.  Nonetheless, there are a few things on which I would like to comment.

First, why should PSAT be important to a lead teacher?  I can think of several really important things.

  • The data generated by AP Potential can help me to identify some future AP students who might currently be flying under the radar.  If you are unfamiliar with AP Potential, you really need to find out about it!
  • The data generated by the schools Summary of Answers and Skills (SOAS) report will help me to identify strengths and weaknesses in our curriculum and instruction so that we can better target our professional development in ways to improve student performance.
  • Stressing the importance of the PSAT helps to improve the general academic environment of the school.  Working to ensure a college-going culture in the school pays enormous dividends in terms of improving AP participation and performance.
  • There are obvious benefits to the students who gain preparation for the SAT, access to online college and career counseling as well as opportunities for scholarship money through the National Merit program.

So, what am I doing?  Here are a few things. 

  • The PSAT booklets were distributed this year through math classes so that math teachers could make use of the practice test inside for daily warmups or as a time filler in the event that their class finished work early.
  • There are other practice problems available to all teachers to use as warmups in the form of power points.
  • We are preparing some stories and interviews for our in-school televised announcements that will explain the importance of and ways to prepare for the PSAT.
  • We are also planning a breakfast to surprise all of the students who earned National Merit recognition based on last year’s PSAT results (this includes our semi-finalists, commended students, National Achievement winners and National Hispanic winners).  Those kids will be honored in our announcements and will issue a challenge to this year’s juniors to surpass their performance.  I am sure our local paper will provide coverage.  We will also recognize those kids at a football game and with a specially designed patch for their school jackets. 

When PSAT results come out in December, I will write a new post explaining how we utilize the results. 

By the way, October is COLLEGE–GO GET IT MONTH and my school will be doing various things to build that college going culture.  Send me a comment telling me what your school does and I will include it in my next post.  Thanks for reading and pass this on to fellow teachers who might be interested.

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