April is a stressful time for juniors around the country. April is when juniors take the SAT and or ACT. These standardized tests are extremely important for those of use that are hoping to further their education at a post secondary institution. Juniors have a lot riding on these tests and they take a lot of preparation in order to get the best possible score.
We spoke with Mrs. Hamlow who is an administrator here at Woodland Park High School about the importance of these standardized tests. Hamlow tells us about the intense preparation and work that teachers and administrators go through to insure that students at Woodland Park High School do their best on these tests that are so important, “It is a lot of work to prep for the SAT, especially when it is for the whole school. All the pre-administration is the first thing that we do during advisory classes where everybody does all of that pre bubbling and all of those details. Attendance is the hard piece of that; because when students are absent or have to leave early or something where they can’t get it all done in one session, it is very hard to find everybody to complete it.” She tells us that the sorting of students and which rooms they take their tests in is difficult because of all the variables and different accommodations that have to be addressed. Hamlow says that by not having other students at the school while juniors are taking the SAT is required, which is preferable because administration does not have to manage other details on top of everything that goes into the SAT. Hamlow is the testing coordinator so she has a lot on her plate during this time of year because she has to plan for all details that go into taking this test. She says that they take the data from previous SATs to know whether or not teachers need to incorporate different things into their curriculum. Another way the district prepares students is through Khan Academy where students can practice certain skills to be ready to take this daunting test.
Mrs. Hamlow tells us why standardized testing is so important. When talking about the SAT she says, “It is a state of Colorado test…this goes way back, before you guys were even born. The reality is with no child left behind. It was the whole standards movement which started before the 2000’s and it took off in the years around 1998-2005 when everybody was teaching their own thing. There was no agreed upon curriculum, there was no agreed upon standards, so the federal government came out and said states need to create some standards. So that we know that a students graduating in like Tennessee was getting a similar education to a student that graduated from a high school in Washington state”. Hamlow says that she has actually experienced this because she has lived and worked both Washington and Tennessee, she says she realized that students were not getting the same quality of education in those states because of the lack of standards.
A junior here at Woodland Park High School, Alex Lanucha tells us about her experience taking the PSAT, SAT and preparing for both tests. Lanucha tells us, “For me I found the SAT easier than the PSAT. My knowledge of understanding the questions was a lot deeper this year than it was last year and it made it easier for me.” Alex says, “I prepared myself by taking the practice classes at the high school every chance I got and taking a class that taught me strategies. I also did online practice on my own.” There are many ways that you can prepare for these test to insure that your scores demonstrate your level of understanding of the material. Alex tells us some tips for taking standardized tests, “Just be prepared and don’t stress. If you prepare yourself earlier in the year then you won’t have to do as much when the time comes to take the test”. Preparing yourself aside from the preparation that Woodland Park High School provides is a great idea, that way you will be as prepared as possible.