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Students taking a test

Standardized Testing

Along with an examination of academic program and grades, colleges also examine the results of standardized testing. Most colleges continue to require the SAT or ACT, and some competitive colleges also require the SAT subject tests. The SAT is designed to test your critical thinking skills in both the verbal and quantitative areas. Some colleges place more emphasis on standardized testing than others, while there are a number of highly selective colleges that are “test optional.” Some colleges understand that some students don’t always test well and determine their true academic achievement and potential by examining their strong academic record rather than relying on one day’s testing experience. Colleges interpret standardized tests in a variety of ways, which are discussed in individual meetings with the Mariemont City School District director of college & career counseling, but below is an overview of the tests.

ACT

The ACT is the most prevalent college-readiness assessment for students attending Mariemont High School. This is a three-hour test that measures skills in four major curriculum areas: English, mathematics, reading and science. ACT arranges six national test dates between September and June. Mariemont High School students are encouraged not only to sign up for one of these testing dates beginning in their junior year, but are also encouraged to take the ACT multiple times. The ACT measures achievement based on both national high school curricular standards as well as college and career readiness standards, both of which are used to predict success in college-level courses. Due to the nature of the types of questions, colleges have become increasingly focused on ACT scores in making admission decisions and scholarship opportunities. From a school perspective the ACT data allows teachers and administrators to determine the effectiveness of the curriculum and to make adjustments where necessary to better prepare students for success in college and their future careers.

Students who apply for Early Decision or Early Action should take the ACT in their junior year. Remember to check with each individual college to see if they require the ACT Plus Writing. With the ACT, you can take this test more than once and choose which scores are sent to colleges. Registration dates for these tests are announced about five weeks prior to test administration. Students can register at www.actstudent.org. Test scores are reported about four weeks after the test date.

ACT ASPIRE

The ACT ASPIRE assessment is administered each year Mariemont City School District students in grades 8-10. ACT developed ASPIRE to replace the PLAN and EXPLORE assessments to better align to college and career readiness standards and to provide students, parents and teachers a more robust view of a student’s academic progress and potential. This assessment also takes advantage of newly developed testing technologies and is delivered electronically. ASPIRE identifies where a student stands academically at the time of testing, and provides a predictive trajectory of how that student is likely to progress academically. The assessment also provides a predictive ACT score for 9th and 10th grade students.

ASPIRE assesses student academic progress in five content areas: English, math, reading, science and writing. Questions are delivered in the following formats: constructed response (essay), selected response (multiple-choice) and technology enhanced.

Advanced Placement Tests (AP)

Advanced Placement (AP) examinations are given in May with specific dates set by the College Board. These are three-hour, college-level subject tests used by many colleges for placement and credit. Remember to save your AP Score Reports if you plan to self-report your scores on your college application. The student is responsible for sending these scores to colleges, though higher levels of performance (scores of 4 or 5) may be cited by teachers or the director of college & career counseling within the written recommendations that are part of the application process.

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT)

The PSAT is administered primarily to juniors at Mariemont, although many sophomores also elect to participate in this assessment. The PSAT is the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). Based on the results of this assessment, a student may earn the distinction of being a National Merit Semi-Finalist or Finalist. Those students receiving these honors are notified in the fall of their senior year. This is a two-hour and ten minute examination designed to measure verbal, mathematical and writing ability. Scores range from 20 – 80 on each section. The PSAT is used as a practice test to acquaint students with the kinds of questions on the SAT Reasoning Test. Scores are reported to students, parents and to Mariemont High School, and used as predictors of later scores on the SAT Reasoning Test.

SAT

Administered by the College Board, The SAT test is divided into three parts: Critical reading, mathematics and writing skills. This test lasts three hours and 45 minutes and is administered to juniors and seniors. The SAT subject tests, as the name indicates, are subject-specific. The score range for the SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Tests range from 200 to a high of 800. The twenty subject area tests in five different content areas include: English, history, languages, mathematics and science. Students that elect to take one or more of these tests may be able to distinguish themselves from other college applicants. A composite of a students’ scores are used by colleges when making decisions on admission. The results from the SAT can help students determine which colleges will be a good fit academically. School administrators and teachers also analyze the data from the SAT to determine the effectiveness of their instruction in preparing students for success in college. Some very selective colleges require or recommend that students submit results from two or three subject tests in addition to scores from SAT Reasoning Tests for admission or placement. Of the colleges that require these tests most ask for a math subject test plus one or two subjects of your choosing.

Registration dates about 5 weeks prior to test administration. Students are responsible for meeting all registration deadlines. Students receive scores about four weeks after the test date. Unless students enroll in Score Choice, all SAT and SAT Subject Test scores will be sent to colleges. To register for the SATs visit http://sat.collegeboard.org/register.

Sending Scores to Colleges

Students are responsible for sending their test scores to the colleges to which they choose to apply. When a student is ready to report the scores for the SAT Reasoning Test, SAT Subject Tests or the ACT the student should make a list of colleges to which the scores should be sent. Contact the testing agency (College Board or ACT) to ask them to send the test scores to the selected colleges. The Mariemont City Schools’ Code Number (CEEB) is: 363205. There will be a fee for each test score sent. Most schools now accept scores electronically.

Each college is unique in their requirements, so it is important to talk to the director of college counseling and to college officials about specific admission requirements.