(All of which reflect the Common Core Curriculum)
The Aspire Test is given in the 9th grade to identify the specific type of questions all freshen find challenging so that we can address these topics early in their high school years. Furthermore, we are able to see if there is a correlation between their performance on standardized tests as compared to their academic achievements in their ninth grade courses. In addition, the results will help the students stay on track for college readiness, while also preparing them for the content on the ACT Test. The results of this test will help students to focus on specific areas in Reading, English, Math, Science, and Writing that need attention.
SAT Subjects Tests or SAT II
Students who intend to apply to selective colleges will need to submit scores from at least two SAT Subject Tests/SAT II. Tests are available in the following subjects: English, History, World Languages, Math, Science and may be taken each year beginning in the 9th grade and ending in 12th grade. Although the College Board allows students to take up to three SAT Subject Tests/SAT II in one sitting, we only encourage our students to take no more than two exams in a given day. These exams are given throughout the year, but we encourage our students to take them in May or in June during the year they are taking that particular subject/Regents since preparing for one exam will help them on the other. Since competitive colleges require them, it is important for the students to do well on them. Furthermore, since students do not know exactly to what colleges they will be applying to until Senior year, we encourage students who are experiencing success in the high school subject that correlate to these exams, to begin to take them as early as Freshman year so that when it comes to Senior year, the students are not trying “to cram in” taking these tests when they are no longer taking these particular subjects anymore and they are also trying to prepare for their last ACT/SAT I and complete their college essays and college applications, not to mention keeping up their grades in their rigorous course of study senior year.
The PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) is given in the 10th and 11th grade as a primer for the SAT I which students will take in the Spring of their Junior year and if needed, again in the Fall of Senior year. The results of the PSAT Test do not go to the colleges, unlike the SAT I.
In the 11th grade, the PSAT is given as a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Competition. Many of these students who do very well on this test will qualify to compete in the National Merit Program. These students could be honored as Commended, Semi-Finalists or a Finalist. These students then will have an opportunity to earn scholarship money for college – from the universities themselves and from sponsoring corporations, etc.
Since the highest correlation to success on the SAT I/ACT is a rigorous high school curriculum, it is recommended for our students to take these exams for the first time in the Spring of their Junior year and again in the Fall of Senior year, if needed. If a student intends to apply Early Decision/Early Action, the months of September and October will still meet the deadline for the colleges. Those students applying Regular Decision or to Rolling Colleges, will be able to test in the months of November and December. Since it is the quality of the results that matter, not the quantity, we encourage our students to prepare well for these important exams. Furthermore, since these tests are quite different from each other, some students will achieve better success on one exam over the other. Specific questions regarding this matter should be addressed with your daughter’s Guidance Counselor. In addition, before a student registers to take either of these exams in “back to back” months, she should first consult with her Guidance Counselor.
Some colleges may accept an ACT in lieu of an SAT Subject Test/SAT II. Please always confirm with the respective college’s admissions office, since requirements change often from year to year and also specific programs within a college often have different requirements than the general admissions requirements to their university.
AP (Advanced Placement)
14 Advanced Placement courses are currently offered at SHA in the following areas: Art, Biology, Calculus AB, Chemistry, Computer Science, English Language, English Literature, Italian Language, Music Theory, Physics, Psychology, Spanish Language, United States History and World History. Students may begin taking AP courses in the 10th grade, provided that they meet the prerequisites necessary for entry into the courses. All students in AP classes are required to take the AP exam in May in each and all of their AP subjects. College Credit may be earned depending on the student’s score on the exam. Most colleges will require a 3, 4 or 5 (5 being the highest score possible) in order to grant college credit. More selective colleges will require a 4 or 5.
Some colleges or specific programs in some colleges may accept AP scores in lieu of an SAT Subject Test/SAT II. Please always confirm with the respective college’s admissions office, since requirements change often from year to year and also specific programs within a college often have different requirements than the general admissions requirements to their university.
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