SAT Transition - Do Now, Do Later's picture

Now that ACT administration is complete and M-STEP is underway, it's time to shift some attention to thinking about how to best prepare students and staff for the SAT in 2016.

Do Now

Last month, we emailed you a free practice PSAT - made available by the College Board - that also included an answer key along with an answer explanation guide (Click here to see it again). If you have a staff meeting or PD time between now and the end of the year, here are some activities to consider:

  • A good way to familiarize staff with the new assessment and to get them into the shoes of their students is to have them take a part of the PSAT for themselves. The PSAT has multiple components:
    • 60 minute, 47 question reading test
    • 35 minute, 44 question writing and language test
    • 25 minute, 17 question math test - no calculator
    • 45 minute, 31 question math test - with calculator

    You may want to have the entire staff take the reading section during a staff meeting. As they are leaving, provide them with the answer key. At the next staff meeting or during department time they can review the actual scoring guide with the answer explanations. Schools with literacy or reading school improvement goals may want to include some specific SAT prep pieces into their plans.

  • During a second staff meeting you may want to have the staff take either the writing and language section or one of the math sections. Perhaps Science, Math and elective areas with a Math focus take that section and all others take the writing and language test. Once again, provide the answer key as an exit ticket and provide follow up time for staff to collectively look at the answer explanations documents and to discuss the primary shifts they are noticing from ACT to SAT.

In terms of students, Colin Ripmaster wrote a great Webline article reminding schools that you need to be thinking through PSAT and SAT accommodations now for next school year. If you missed that article, it is definitely something you want on your immediate radar.

For your own professional development on the topic of SAT, MASSP is in the planning stages on providing several three-hour sessions hosted regional to provide Association members with slides and information to share with staff, students and parents in terms of the "nuts and bolts" of the PSAT 8 and 9, the PSAT/NMSQT and the SAT itself. These sessions will be offered FREE of charge for MASSP members only. You should also register for EdCon15 ASAP - there will be an SAT keynote and several breakout sessions! We already have more than 125 people registered, so book your hotel accommodations soon if you want to ensure a room on site.

Do Later

Current 10th graders may be the students who are at the biggest disadvantage in the transition from ACT to SAT. Clearly most districts began ACT prep early with the Explore and Plan tests…so what can be done to help? Here are some things you may want to consider:

  • One of the major benefits to moving to SAT is their partnership with Khan Academy. Schools will no longer need to invest in any other online remediation programs nor will vendor-created benchmark assessments be a necessity. Khan Academy will be a free resource, which will launch in June 2015, to provide an adaptive practice experience that will be tailored to each student’s strengths and weaknesses. It will also provide students and educators with the opportunity to compliment classroom instruction with personalized practice, an unprecedented view into the design of the SAT, and it will be available, anytime, anywhere at no cost.

  • Because Khan Academy will provide focused remediation for each individual student, districts could elect to pay for current 10th graders (11th in the fall) to take the PSAT/NMSQT on Oct. 14, 2015. (Fall timeline). Results could then be uploaded into Khan Academy, giving students a great opportunity to be better prepared for the spring SAT.

  • Districts may also want to consider giving the paper/pencil PSAT provided last month to the 9th and 10th graders while the Juniors are taking the "real" PSAT on October 14. This will begin to establish the baseline and trend data lost in the assessment transition.

    Districts could then consider having 8th, 9th and 10th graders take PSAT 8, PSAT 9 and the PSAT during the spring testing window when Juniors will that the SAT. This would be the start of the data in Khan Academy for the 8th, 9th and 10th graders and it would inform next steps of instruction in the fall. (NOTE: You can give 7th graders the PSAT 8 but there will only be national norms for 8th)

    The PSAT 8/9 testing windows are between Sept. 28 and Jan. 29 for the fall or between Feb. 22 and March 4 for the spring. (Fall and spring timelines)

This advice does have a price tag. As you consider making the investment, also take into account what financial obligations you may want to abandon, now that remediation and interim assessments will be provided at no cost via Khan Academy.

How Much $$ Are We Talking About?

Standard Exam Pricing:
PSAT 10 - $15
PSAT 8/9 - $10

Important: The College Board does offer a cohort pricing reduction, but they ask either ISD's or districts to contact them directly to work on this.

More information on pricing for the PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT can be found here.

How Do We Order?

PSAT Exam Ordering Website:

(Individuals placing exam orders will need to create a College Board account, similar to how AP exam orders are placed at the school level)

Important FYI:
June 30, 2015 is a key date:
- Deadline for early ordering: Orders received by this date will receive the Official

Student Guide to PSAT/NMSQT by mid-September:
- Deadline to request fee waivers: Requests to increase fee waivers received after this date will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

College Board - Michigan Microsite

The College Board recently launched a website to support schools and districts across Michigan during the transition to the SAT. It includes information on:

  • Implementing the SAT in your school
  • Upcoming professional development opportunities
  • Details about the free practice program that is being offered by the College Board and Khan Academy

If you have additional questions specific to the SAT and/or the PSAT/NMSQT, we encourage you to contact the College Board at 866-392-4086 or