Standardized testing preparation in schools

Lydia Podlesak, Writer

As many feel the pressure to do well on the upcoming Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), online prep courses and books are available for students to utilize. For some schools such as Mott Middle College, online courses and books are not the only option as SAT prep classes are available through the school.

“We run our prep class during seminar time, many schools call it SRT,” Mott Middle College Counselor Heather Landis said. “It ends up being about 10 hours total. There are two instructors, math and English. I think it helps those who use the info we present. If they use Khan Academy and continue to navigate through the college board resources, there is a comfort going into the actual test. Students have vocalized that they would have liked to have even more time.”

For one hour every Friday, Mott Middle College student Lucy Rumery attends the SAT prep class.

“I think that everything we do could all be done from home because it’s watching videos and then answering questions and we work mostly at our own pace,” Rumery said. “At the same time, I’m really glad I have the class, because I wouldn’t have known how to set up a Khan academy account and I probably wouldn’t have had the motivation to do it on my own. But because we’re graded based on completion, it helps me make sure it’s still a priority like all my other homework. Also, if I have questions or need help, I can always ask my teacher in class.”

Unlike Mott Middle College, Fenton High does not offer a specific SAT prep course. Although, Fenton High does incorporate Khan Academy in junior literature classes.

“Fenton does not offer SAT prep courses because the SAT partnered with Khan Academy that students can use to prepare and that is completely free for our students,” said counselor Michelle Pietraszkiewicz. “They can get personalized study plans based on their PSAT scores so it’s nice because if you have a weakness, they are going to give you the practice you need in that area. Khan Academy is an online course, you can access it by going through the college board site or through, it is really simple to get rolling on.”

Outside of regular literature and math classes, Khan Academy is encouraged for students to use in their free time. Junior Ethan Gibson not only uses Khan academy in his literature class but takes a prep course out of school.

“I am preparing through my literature class, my teacher Mrs. Hazlett is giving us a book that is through Khan Academy and College Board that is practicing the literature part of the SAT,” Gibson said. “We have been doing this the whole year, we are full focus on the SAT. I also take a seperate class that I paid for, its through Kaplan. I take it for six weeks and drive down to Novi every Saturday where I take practice tests and learn study tactics.”

For both schools, the use of Khan Academy is mutual. Although the structure is different between the prep class offered at Mott Middle college and the brief study periods in Fenton’s literature classes, Khan Academy is encouraged in both.

“We get students registered with College Board and Khan Academy. We navigate the College Board website as useful resource,” Landis said. “We break down how the test is designed; percentage of test that has specific focus, algebra, problem solving, etc. We give a practice test and We analyze their results, student strengths and weaknesses. We talk about test taking strategies.Students are not required to take it, but it fits in their schedule, we place them in the course. Often, SAT testers will already be obligated to the college classes during our seminar times.”

Whether students attend Mott Middle College or Fenton High school there are many different ways students can prepare this SAT season. Juniors will begin taking the SAT April 10, and will continue through the week. Freshman and Sophomores will also be taking the PSAT that day.