DPS to administer PSAT test to ninth graders for the first time

Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542
Kisha Verdusco at 313-873-4546

For the first time ever, Detroit Public Schools willl administer the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) to ninth grade students at seven district high schools in a pilot program that could be rolled out to every high school next year.

The testing will be part of the new “DPS College Readiness Day,” on Wednesday October 13, during which every high school will be focused on getting their students ready for college.

Ninth graders at Cass Technical High School, Renaissance High School, Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, Pershing High School, Finney, Detroit International Academy and Kettering High Schools will take the PSAT. Every student in the 10th and 11th grades will also be given the PSAT test that day.

“One of the most important components of our five-year academic plan is improving the college attendance and completion rates of our graduates,” said Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “Creating an environment in which everyone is focused on life after high school is critical to ensuring our students succeed in this area.”

While students in the lower grades are being tested, 12th graders will participate in a variety of college-readiness activities that will vary by school, including financial aid workshops and filling out of FAFSFA forms, completion of admission essays, visits from college representatives speaking to students.

“We want to raise awareness among our students, as early as possible, that college is a viable option for them,” said Deputy Chief of Academic Affairs Sherry Ulery. “Our emphasis is on making sure students have the skills and knowledge to select the right colleges for them and successfully gain admission.”

The PSAT is a standardized that serves as practice for the SAT, which many colleges consider when reviewing student applications. The test measures reading, writing and math skills and gives students an opportunity to enter scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools.
Guidance counselors at high schools throughout DPS recently received training from the College Board, which administers the PSAT/NMSQT. They learned how to interpret the test results to help students prepare for the SAT and ACT.

The counselors will be able to use the test results to give students feedback on their academic strengths and weaknesses so they can work to improve their performance on future tests. They will also use the data to analyze how students might perform in Advanced Placement (college-level) courses.

In addition to offering the PSAT to ninth graders, the district is establishing College Counseling Suites at every high school campus. The first one, at Communication and Media Arts High School, opened this fall.
The Counseling Suites will be customized to fit each school, but all of them will share three characteristics:

– They will have counseling centers for students, guidance counselors and college recruiters and representatives to meet in comfortable area. These rooms will be equipped with video conferencing capabilities, which will allow students to virtually visit any campus or talk to any college representative without leaving their school or taking costly college tours.

– Each will be equipped with a research center that will allow students to conduct college searches. They will have computers, manuals, brochures and all the materials needed to make the select and apply to college.

– All of them will feature a seminar area, where students can take college entrance exams and attend workshops.

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