The Snoqualmie Valley School District has designated this Wednesday, October 16 as Super Wednesday. On that day, SVSD high school seniors will have the opportunity to take the SAT at their school during the day (in other words, not on a Saturday and not at a random test site). SVSD will pay the testing fees for all seniors who participate.
This is the first year SVSD has taken part in the increasingly popular SAT School Day program. According to the College Board (the non-profit that overseas SAT and AP programs), over 3.7 million students in over 3,000 districts and 9,000 schools have participated in SAT School Day. The program helps school districts administer the SAT to juniors and seniors in their high school on a weekday.
The aim of SAT School Day is to increase student access to and participation in SAT testing. Because the SAT remains a universally-recognized test accepted by all colleges as part of their application process, making it easier to take or re-take the test helps level the admissions playing field.
From SVSD Superintendent Dr. Rob Manahan, in a statement on their website:
“By providing free college entrance exams and bringing the testing to our own district, we are working to remove obstacles for our students to ensure the doors to higher education are open to all. Cost and the location of testing should never be impediments to students’ access to education or career pathways.”
It all started with the PSAT
According to its website, SVSD began offering the PSAT to freshmen, sophomores and juniors for free two years ago to help them gain college-prep experience, as well as to give juniors a chance to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship program. This year the District expanded its offerings to include the SAT. Both programs are the culmination of an advocacy effort that began ten years with the Mt. Si High School Learning Improvement team. SVSD school board president Carolyn Simpson – who was part of that Mt. Si High School team – said that although work to make the programs a reality was at times challenging – the reasons for doing so were clear. “We learned that when schools did this, participation and test scores improved dramatically,” said Simpson.
What are the benefits?
According to the College Board and participating school districts and students, taking the SAT on a weekday at your home school has a lot of immediate benefits:
- “Test starts in an hour – where am I supposed to be? “ – Taking the SAT at your school means students don’t have to worry about finding or getting to an unfamiliar test site early on a Saturday morning.
- Student-focused schedule – Students today are busy with part-time jobs, extra-curricular activities, homework and family commitments. Weekday testing means the test is accommodating the student’s schedule, not the other way around.
- Familiar faces and spaces – Students take the test in familiar surroundings (their regular school) with people they know. Participating students “report having less stress when they test in a place they know, and they’re better rested and prepared when they can test on a regular school day” according to the College Board.
Like any new program, SVSD will consider how to improve and build on the success of Super Wednesday. Simpson for example would like the District to consider a spring test date for juniors and seniors, given the realities of the college application timeline. But for now, SVSD is excited about the potential for this program to further its mission of preparing all students for college, career and citizenship.