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Ask HISD: Understanding college-readiness testing

2013 October 24
by HISD Communications

Q: How do I know if my child is ready for college?

A: A number of factors demonstrate that a student is ready for higher education. One of them is his/her performance on standardized testing. These tests provide a snapshot of students’ strengths and weaknesses, and help educators identify subject areas (such as reading, writing, or math) that might need extra focus in order for students to do well in secondary studies.

To decrease students’ test-taking anxiety and increase their familiarity and comfort level with the format of college entrance exams (such as the SAT), HISD implemented a program in 2003 that lets children in grades 9 through 11 take the precursor to that test—the PSAT-NMSQT—for free.

All high-school juniors subsequently take the SAT during the school day for free, and HISD students in grades 11 or 12 may also choose to take the ACT for additional insight into their grasp of English, mathematics, reading, and science. Eighth-graders take a variation of the same test called ReadiStep to get them thinking about college early.

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