Home > Uncategorized > By Giving SATs for Free, NYC ALMOST Gets it Right

By Giving SATs for Free, NYC ALMOST Gets it Right

I read Elizabeth Harris’ article on the NYC school district’s initiative to offer free SATs to Juniors with great interest. As Superintendent in MD in the early 1990s I persuaded our board to spend the money needed to give the PSAT to sophomores. My rationale for that was to give students an opportunity to see the kind of rigorous tests they needed to pass to get into college and have the time needed to upgrade their course selections in the last two years of HS in order to prepare themselves for college. Also, by administering the test to ALL children at the 10th grade level we were able to identify some “diamonds in the rough”: students who possessed the bedrock skills needed to succeed in college but who had not applied themselves in high school to that point. Finally, we wanted to increase the percentage of our students who aspired to college– a challenge given the fact that many parents in our county had no higher education experience and the cost for college seemed daunting.

Free SATs to juniors is a good idea… but I remain convinced that free PSATs for sophomores is the better way to go.

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