I’m hearing in Maryland that this year’s junior class may be allowed to skip the PSAT. If the student is not in the running for NMS semifinalist or commended status, is there any reason to take the October 14, 2020 PSAT? We still don’t have any SAT dates being offered locally, though some rural areas may be opening up.
Are students in MD required to take it? Everyone at our schools around here are “allowed” to skip it - you have to opt in. Forced PSAT seems of little value for some.
If a student isn’t expecting NM qualification but is expecting to take the SAT for college, the PSAT can still serve as good practice. The student learns the mechanics of the testing process and can feed the results into Khan Academy for tailored practice. All without having a permanent score on record as when the SAT is the first time facing standardized testing.
Our high school in Illinois usually requires the PSAT, but our school sent an email today asking parents to opt in - and pay $17 - if you want your kid to take it. This is a change from last fall.
I would have your student take it if s/he can. It can’t hurt to have the practice and find out where they do, in fact, stand.
In Maryland, I do think the PSAT is usually required for juniors. But now many public systems are virtual/ online for the fall semester, so it is unclear that the public schools would open up just for the PSAT in October.
Some private schools are on a hybrid schedule to allow some students one day a week. So kids on a hybrid schedule could opt out, not go in on the day of the PSAT and avoid having to take a test while socially distanced and masked/ follow local COVID protocols.
Some Maryland colleges are going test optional for 2021, but it is unclear whether that would be the case for 2022.
Regarding possibly seeking to be Commended or a Semi-Finalist- if some rural areas offer the PSAT on October 14, but the most populated school systems remain closed, then that would lead to a much smaller pool from which to determine NMSF for Maryland?
Our HS is 100% e-learning but they are opening up for two days for the SAT (seniors only) and PSAT (juniors only). Several high schools around here are doing the same, but obviously everywhere is different.
It is definitely going to be a smaller pool of contenders for NMSF if they’re making the test optional. However, I would think the strongest students will be more likely to take the test and fewer weaker students will. So I doubt the cut-off numbers will slip by much, if any.
Our school is also limiting the PSAT to Juniors. I suppose this makes sense if they have space limitations, but that’s certainly a loss for Sophomores who miss the opportunity for their first college-type standardized testing with no score ramifications.
Cutoff implications will be interesting. Nothing I see says it’s a percentage of those who take the test - it’s the top x% or a fixed number, depending on the source. Top students may make an extra effort to take the test, but the reality that it’s only given on one day may have a meaningful impact. Given the significant restrictions in CA right now, for example, some students may have no opportunity no matter how much they want to. It will be interesting to see if cutoffs fall in relation to shutdown severity.