Students Take PSAT and PLAN
by Sean Chanicka on Friday, October 25th, 2013
On Wednesday, October 16th, while Class IV was on a field trip and Class I took the day off, Class III students spent their day on the courts of the RSG taking the PLAN test while Class II students took the PSATs in the FCC.
Every year, Milton’s sophomores take the PLAN test, a standardized exam billed as practice for the ACT. Like most standardized tests, the PLAN uses multiple-choice questions to measure students’ abilities in math and reading. Milton’s juniors took the PSAT, which is a preliminary SAT test. The PSAT is similar to the SAT in many ways but is much shorter and lacks the essay component of the SAT. By participating in this test, all juniors have the chance to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship, an award worth $2,500 in tuition to any school.
Max Kliman (II) says of the PSAT, “There’s obviously the scholarship, which is a nice thing, but the main benefit is really just practice and being able to improve your skills.” Both Max and Avery reflect the Milton community’s belief that these tests give students an idea of where they currently are and can help students determine what steps they need to take in the future to prepare for standardized tests.
Avery Park (III) did not study because, as she said, the PLAN test “is not graded, I want to know where I am with bare minimum studying so I know where I should study.” Milton offers these tests as a way for students to acclimate themselves to taking standardized tests; therefore, students try to do what they believe will help them get as much out of these tests as possible.
The SAT and the ACT are the major tests one will take when applying to colleges. Jackie Bonenfant, Academic Dean, believes that creators of the SAT and ACT design their tests to measure “college readiness.” However, Max says, “standardized testing isn’t something that measures what you learned in school or even your real intelligence, but it’s more ‘Can you do certain problems that you’ve never even seen or learned before?’”
Upperclassmen place a heavy emphasis on having high standardized test scores, but Ms. Bonenfant stresses that scores aren’t everything. She noted “A standardized test is one piece of the whole package that a student puts together when he applies to college. I wouldn’t want that one piece of information to be taken out of context and looked at as something that defines a student.” As Ms. Bonenfant advised, Milton Academy students of Class II and III should look upon tests such as the PSAT and PLAN not as a source of stress but as an opportunity to practice and learn before they take the actual tests.
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