By Roland Li,
On Oct. 14, sophomores and juniors filled the Davis High gyms to take the PSAT, a practice test that helps prepare students for the SAT and allows them to enter the NMSQT competition. Normally held on both Wednesdays and Saturdays, the 2015 PSAT only offered test dates on Wednesdays this year. The PSAT schedule change caused interference with the instructional time and lesson plans of many teachers.
“I have the same class for all even periods. I was going to give a quiz, but I didn’t because much of the class was gone second period and fourth period,” math teacher James Johnson said. “Sixth period students were all here, so it kind of slowed our progression through this unit.”
In some classes, almost all students were gone to take the PSAT.
“Only like five people appeared in second period symphony that day,” senior Jimmy Zhou said. “We couldn’t rehearse our pieces and had a free period.”
Many students disliked the Wednesday PSAT because they were forced to miss class and had to make up any work that they missed.
“I had to take a calculus test after school on Thursday,” junior David Yo said. “If the test was on Saturday, it would have made my schedule much more manageable.”
As the creator of the test, College Board decided the dates of the test and makeup test, and not the school district. College Board decided to adjust the PSAT schedule due to the feedback of educators, who believed that Wednesday morning was a better time for testing and that there needed to be a redesigned PSAT that prepared students for the newly formatted SAT that starts in March 2016.
“We got pretty far advance notice about the PSAT and the people who scheduled it said they couldn’t do anything about it,” Johnson said. “If you can’t do anything about it, you just have to adjust.”
According to College Board, Wednesday testing doesn’t produce the conflict of Saturday testing with extracurricular activities of students. Testing on Wednesday also “complements school calendars and avoids conflict with religious holidays.”
Junior Eliot Williams preferred the Wednesday date, as he participates in Quiz Bowl, soccer and symphony.
“My Quiz Bowl tournaments and soccer games usually take place on Saturdays, so a Saturday PSAT date could cause potential conflicts,” Williams said.
Due to conflict with instructional time and scheduling challenges, Saturday PSAT testing will return in 2016.