MCAS – MASSACHUSETTS COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM


What is the MCAS? Under the 1993 Education Reform Act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was given the authority to establish curriculum frameworks in English, mathematics, and other core subjects. The MCAS is a state-mandated test sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Education that measures these state-wide academic standards. All full-time high school students are required to take and pass the English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science exams to qualify for a high school diploma.

Who takes the MCAS?
The ELA and Math exams are administered to sophomore students in the spring. The Science exam is given in the spring of the student’s freshman year. Students who do not pass the exam on their first try are given several more opportunities to take and pass the exam before graduation.

How does a student register for the MCAS?
All full-time high school students will automatically be registered to take the exams at the given time.

For more information on the MCAS and testing dates, please contact the school counseling office or visit www.doe.mass.edu/mcas.


PSAT/NMSQT – Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test

What is it? Sponsored by The College Board, this is a test that measures critical reading, verbal reasoning, mathematical problem-solving and writing skills – those abilities shown to be important for successful academic performance in college. The test also serves as the qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Students who plan to take the PSAT/NMSQT will receive a full-length sample test to take for practice, complete with explanations of the kinds of Questions asked, test-taking tips, and an answer sheet and instructions for scoring. After the test, student will receive their original test booklet, their answers, a key to the correct answers, and a personalized score report that provides feedback and improvement suggestions based on the student’s performance.

Why take the PSAT/NMSQT?

    • To practice for the SAT 1. Because of the similar format, directions and question types, student who take the PSAT, on average, earn higher scores on the SAT I than those who don’t.
    • To earn scholarships and academic recognition. Students who perform well may become eligible to enter the National Merit Scholarship competitions as well as programs that give special recognition to high-achieving Hispanics and African-American students.
    • To begin the college search. Students can voluntarily place their name in a pool of college-bound students interested in receiving admission and financial aid information from certified colleges.
    • To see how one’s academic skills compare with those of other college-bound students.
    • To get feedback on how to improve academic skills needed for the SAT I and in college. The PSAT “Score Report Plus” gives each student personalized feedback and clearly identifies academic skills that need improvement.

Who takes the PSAT/NMSQT?
College-bound students should plan to take the PSAT/NMSQT in October of their junior year. Sophomore students are also encouraged to take the test, but their scores do not qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

How does a student register for the PSAT/NMSQT?
The PSAT is offered once a year in October and registration is handled through the Guidance Department.

For more information on the PSAT/NMSQT, including registration and testing dates, please contact visit www.collegeboard.org.


SAT – SCHOLASTIC APTITUDE TEST – REASONING TEST


What is the SAT?
The SAT I, sponsored by The College Board, is a test measuring critical reading, verbal reasoning, writing, and math problem-solving – those abilities shown to be important for successful academic performance in college.

Why take the SAT I?

    • Admission Requirement for many 4-year colleges. The scores from the SAT I are used as a determining factor in admissions decisions by many 4-year colleges.
    • To see how one’s academic skills compare with those of other college-bound students.

Who takes the SAT?
Students considering 4-year colleges should plan to take the SAT I in the spring of their junior year, and again in the fall of their senior year.

How does a student register for the SAT?
The SAT I is offered on specified Saturdays throughout the school year. (Alternative test dates are available to those who cannot test on Saturdays for religious reasons). Students may register on-line at www.collegeboard.com, or by mail using the registration bulletin which is available in the Guidance office. Registration deadlines are generally 4-6 weeks prior to the testing date.

For more information on the SAT, including registration and testing dates, please contact the school counseling office or visit www.collegeboard.org.


SAT II – SCHOLASTIC APTITUDE TEST – SUBJECT TESTS


What is the SAT II? The SAT II – Subject Tests, sponsored by The College Board, are one-hour tests that measure knowledge and skills in particular subject areas and in writing.

Why take the SAT II?

    • Admission Requirement for many 4-year colleges. The scores from the SAT II are used as a determining factor in admissions decisions by many of the more selective 4-year colleges.
    • To see how one’s academic skills compare with those of other college-bound students.

Who takes the SAT II?
Students considering the more selective 4-year colleges should plan to take the SAT II – in a particular subject area after completing the high school course in that subject. Exceptions to this are the SAT II -Literature and Math I tests, which students usually take in the spring of their junior year or in the fall of their senior year. IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONFER WITH YOUR STUDENT’S GUIDANCE COUNSELOR TO DETERMINE THE BEST TIME FOR HIM/HER TO TAKE A PARTICULAR SAT II – SUBJECT TEST, AS EACH INDIVIDUAL STUDENT’S ACADEMIC PROFILE IS DIFFERENT.

How does a student register for the SAT II?
The SAT II is offered on specified Saturdays throughout the school year. (Alternative test dates are available to those who cannot test on Saturdays for religious reasons). Students may register on-line at www.collegeboard.com, or by mail using the registration bulletin which is available in the Guidance office. Registration deadlines are generally 4-6 weeks prior to the testing date.

SAT II Registration and Testing Dates For The Current Academic Year
A complete schedule of registration deadlines and test dates is available online at www.collegeboard.com.

For more information on the SAT II, including registration and testing dates, please contact the guidance office or visit www.collegeboard.org.


ACT – AMERICAN COLLEGE TESTING PROGRAM

What is the ACT? The ACT, sponsored by The American College Testing Program, is a test that measures developed reasoning skills in the context of acquired subject-matter expertise. The test is divided into four 35-50 minute tests in the area of English usage, mathematics, social science reading, and natural science readings.

Why take the ACT?

    • Admission Requirement for many 4-year colleges. The scores from the ACT are used as a determining factor in admissions decisions by many 4-year colleges. Colleges may accept the ACT in lieu of the SAT.
    • To see how one’s academic skills compare with those of other college-bound students.

Who takes the ACT?
Students considering attending 4-year colleges may take the ACT in lieu of the SAT if their potential college accepts it, although students in the northeast region of the country generally take the SAT. IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONFER WITH YOUR STUDENT’S GUIDANCE COUNSELOR TO DETERMINE THE APPROPRIATE TESTING OPTION, AS EACH INDIVIDUAL STUDENT’S ACADEMIC PROFILE IS DIFFERENT.

How does a student register for the ACT?
The ACT is offered on specified Saturdays throughout the school year. (Alternative test dates are available to those who cannot test on Saturdays for religious reasons). Students may register on-line at www.act.org, or by mail using the registration bulletin which is available in the Guidance office. Registration deadlines are generally 4-6 weeks prior to the testing date.

For more information on the ACT, including registration and testing dates, please contact the school counseling office or visit www.act.org.


AP – ADVANCED PLACEMENT EXAM

What is AP? AP, Advanced Placement Examinations, sponsored by The College Board, are three-hour exams based on a full-year, college-level course in high school. The exams are given once a year in May.

 Who takes AP exams?
Students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses in high school should take the respective exam in May, near the completion of the course. Scores from the AP exams may be used in college credit and placement.

How does a student register for the AP exams?
Students register in the spring through the Guidance office.

For more information on the AP, including registration and testing dates, please contact the guidance office or visit www.collegeboard.org.