SMUHSD should administer fall PSAT/NMSQT
While we were happy to learn that the SMUHSD is planning on administering the SAT on October 14th to all of its seniors, we were disappointed to learn that they do NOT plan on administering the PSAT/NMSQT to the sophomores and juniors this year. Superintendent Skelly explained this during the SMHS PTO General Meeting on August 25th (https://youtu.be/mqK7degH1-k?t=990).
The PSAT is a good practice for the SAT - historically, students who take the PSAT/NMSQT score higher on the SAT, on average, than those who don’t take the test.
More importantly, students who take the PSAT/NMSQT in 11th grade may enter the National Merit® Scholarship Program, an academic competition for recognition and scholarships. Other scholarships also use the PSAT/NMSQT to find students qualified to apply for their programs. These organizations give out over $255 million in combined awards every year. (At USC alone, a National Merit Scholar is GUARANTEED TO RECEIVE AT LEAST 1/2 tuition in scholarship money for all 4 years - worth nearly $120,000!) Our SMUHSD students will be completely ineligible for these scholarships without a PSAT score. Our students will also be ineligible for recognition via a National Merit Commendation without a PSAT score. Such recognition is a valuable asset as part of the college application process.
Unlike the SAT or ACT where a student can register at any test taking facility that has space, the PSAT is only offered at a student's home school. Therefore, if SMUHSD does not offer the PSAT, our students will NOT be able to take it elsewhere. Moreover, high schools across the nation and Bay Area DO plan on administering the PSAT, enabling their students to qualify for recognition and scholarships.
OUR STUDENTS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED THIS OPPORTUNITY.
We ask that Superintendent Skelly reconsider and reinstate the PSAT/NMSQT at all SMUHSD schools. The College Board is being very flexible with PSAT administration, offering multiple dates this fall (10/14, 10/17, and 10/29), and also multiple offerings on each day (https://counselors.collegeboard.org/covid-19-updates). Based on information from the College Board (https://ordering.collegeboard.org/testordering/publicSearchCont), high schools in our area that are offering the PSAT/NMSQT in October to their students include (but are not limited to):
- Carlmont HS
- Sequoia HS
- Menlo-Atherton HS
- Woodside HS
- Nueva HS
- Serra HS
- Design Tech
- Notre Dame HS
- Saratoga HS
- Mission San Jose HS
- Leland HS
- Lynbrook HS
If the district feels it is safe to administer the 4+ hour SAT to all of its seniors, we believe it is safe to administer the PSAT (under 3 hours) to all sophomores and juniors. If numbers are an issue, sophomores and juniors can take the test on different days or, if necessary, juniors could get priority as their scores could qualify for scholarships (sophomore scores do not). Furthermore, administrators could make the test optional which would further reduce numbers.
If you agree with this, please sign our petition. Thank you.