Tuesday, October 17, 2006

$1.2 Million, Well Spent?

Today in class we discussed the city’s decision to allocate $1.2 million to our 10th and 11th graders with their most popular product the PSAT. After reading the article, Bloomberg Unveils a Plan to Encourage City Students to Take the PSAT, students were then asked a series of question:

1. Why are schools so interested in PSAT exams?
2. Who benefits from PSAT exams?
3. Is the “College Board” profiteering?
4. What affect will this exam have on the sophomore class?
5. Why did the author add the last line to the article?
6. What will school do with the results?
7. Are we as a society ready to let the “College Board” assess our 10th grades?
8. Who pays for the proctors, the non-test taking students, and the counseling of the students who received poor results?
9. Is it a NYC High School’s responsibility to provide prep classes for the “College Board” exams?
10. How might the $1.2 million dollars a year of public school funding be better spent than the PSAT exams.

Please read their comments below. Anything anyone (student/teacher/parent/Jonathan Kozol) can add will be greatly appreciated.


Superfly said...

There are a hundred ways that 1.2 million dollars could be spent in NYC schools and I think it's ridiculous that Mr. Bloomberg thinks that ALL Sophomores and Juniors need to take this test. It's also a perfectly preposterous concept to think that the PAST is the only way for a student to show an early interest in college.

The PSAT serves, not as a Practice for the SAT, as the name would imply (those of us who took it know that the two tests are formatted in manners completely different from each other), but to weed out those children (yes, children...) who perform well under the very particular circumstances presented by the PSAT/SAT (those children who speak and understand the language on the test and are good at taking tests that are four and a half hours long. etc.).

I would like to know what the city plans to do when if the numbers in the data they get from this experiment don't go up as expected form tenth to eleventh grade. We weren't given extra money to take the rest of the population out of the building when the test was being administered and it is certainly not the individual school's responsibility to do prep for a test that the DOE bought from a private company, so, are we going to get money for counseling or tutoring for those students whose marks didn't go up? Does the city care about the student's whose marks don't go up?

And, oh my goodness, why is absolutely EVERYTHING constantly about money???

~joanna vogel

Edwin Genao said...

I think that PSAT's are good in schools because they can prepare kids for the SAT's. Kids can get ahead start and be more prepared for the SAT if they start practicing from a younger age. It gives them more years of studying. Also kids might get disappointed if they score low but they should not get discouraged and study harder on the subjects they did poorly. They can also be scared because of all the work they are going to be doing and that might discourage them from wanting to go to college. I think the PSAT at an earlier age is better for those kids who are considering to go to college because the test is not mandatory only those who want to take it can. The others do not have to take it.

Jason Mangubat said...

I think the city education officials said children would not be forced to take the exam. They also said they hoped to use the test to measure student progress between the 10th and 11th grades. I also think New York is following other school districts and states, like Florida, which covers the cost of the exam for any 10th grader who takes it. City education officials said principals and schools would eventually be judged on the year-to-year results of students who take the exam.

goddess said...

Anybody ever get the feeling that we are testing them too much?

vishnell said...

This whole PSAT idea I feel is good and bad in different ways.

It’s good for the sophomores and juniors to be prepared and have the chance to take this test during a school day. It wont be a hassle for them to come to school on a normal day and take the test and prepare themselves for the SAT. Having the board of education do this is much easier then the students going out their ways to find out when the PSAT is, when is the deadline to pay to take the test and how to get the information. This way the students can get this test and know what to expect. They wouldn’t have to do a thing but wait till the day the test is given.

The bad thing about this PSAT is as sophomores are you really ready to take this test. By taking this test it can break some students. They can start thinking that they aren’t capable of passing the SAT and that they will probably fail the real test. Also with this test it can determine a lot of student’s decision about going to college. By failing the PSAT it can make them think “hey, college isn’t for me” It’s also having the freshmen and seniors leave the school and plan a whole days event. The teachers have to arrange a lot for this day and make sure everything works out good.

In conclusion I can’t really say how the $1.2 million dollars a year of public school funding could be spent better but I know that it can. As important as the PSAT might be to some and the advantages or good you might find out of it it is also money that can be spent more wisely. That’s a lot of money going out to a test that students might not attend or not take serious or take too serious.

Superfly said...

In response to Ms. Goddess Unknown: I think that we've pretty much reached a consensus in "progressive" schools that the general schools system has been in the testing-overkill zone for quite some time. They are unwilling to make the concession that most people in education have already internalized and believe: that testing does not equal learning. No matter how many times you ask someone a question or give them a test, if you don't teach them properly and you don't teach them how to think for themselves past bubbling in a multiple choice answer sheet (which generally is not actual thinking, no matter how many times you say “deductive reasoning”), we are never going to make any progress in education. This is why I am so in love with QHST concepts, we may not be memorizing very much potentially useless information, but there is so much thinking and writing and processing going on in this building and learning to think for oneself and internalize concepts and decide for yourself which information is most important for you to know and be informed about is worth so much more than a perfect SAT score.

Sam said...

I love what Joanna said about everyone taking the test and it being unnecessary! It really is not helpful for you to asses yourself for the SATs! I reflected on my PSAT/SAT experience, and it feels like they had nothing to do with eachother. And spending 1.2 Million???? Why!? When in class, we discussed that thats only a good deal if every student in NYC shows up. A good deal won't. Then they have to pay proctors and on top of that, they have to figure out what to do with the freshman and seniors. Whats next, making the freshman take it too?

As for BUYING A TEST from the college board, its an incredible waste of the city's money!

'The Goddess Unknown" although brief in her statement, makes a valid point. It changes the issue from the PSATs to why high school is all about TESTS! You have regents upon regents, and on top of that PSATS/SATS/ and for a select many AP exams. Then there are the ACTS if you want to take them, and the SAT 2's! (for those who are insane.) I mean, what can Bloomberg gain from testing us, except making students disgruntled (like postal workers, but worse because we're 'ansty teens')

kaitlyn said...

After reading what everyone said I think the real problem is that we tell these kids to take this test about the SATs without them having any prior knowledge about what's on it or how to take it. I don't think the PSATs were stressed enough when I had to take them and most people didn't take them seriously. I took them last year and I agree with sam when she said that they were a waste of her time because I didn't feel that they prepared me for the SATs because I hadn't prepared for them like I have prepared myself for the real SAT. Most kids are not going to go home and study for a test that doesn't count. I know I didn't and neither did any of my friends. I agree with what joanna said about how there are a lot of more important things to spend the money on than a pointless test. We talked about how if people don't show up for the test the city will lose money and I think that it was very stupid to basicilly trust that students would come to school for it because kids are very unpredictable. Since they're not going to get rid of the test anytime soon I think that they shouldn't give it to sophomores because they've only completed 1 year and a couple months of high school and are not ready for it. They should make students start taking an SAT course starting maybe in their sophomore year so that they are more prepared and well rounded for when they have to take the test in their junior year. Preparing for it early would allow more students time to prepare for it and the SAT and might allow more students to go to college if they get high enough scores on the SAT.

Stephanieee said...

I feel the PSAT are both an advantage and a disadvantage to some children. Schools are so interested in the PSAT exam because it gives their students an advantage to the SAT which the take at the end of Junior year, begining or Senior year. Some and i do mean Some children benefit from taking the PSAT. Y? Because some kids (especially Sophmores) just mark off any answer and fall asleep during the test! The only reason why i know that is because when i was a Sophmore I can remember what we did. We raced to see who finished the section first and than fell asleep for the next 25 minutes. That was the "cool" thing to do. I feel it should be an absolute mandatory test that Juniors should take, and only Sophmores who sign up for it should take. Why should The Collegeboard loose money on something that some students aren't even benefitting off of? I think that the PSAT is a great thing for students who actually take the time out to take the exam in its entirety, because it only prepares you for college!

shanicca conyers said...

This was the issue I remeber talking about the most and I know that I said that I think that giving the PSAT was a good idea for sophomores and juniors because it prepare them for the SAT's. I never took the PSAT myself but i know that if it was offered to us with out us paying for it then I would take it with out a doubt... but then I remeber one of my class members saying that the PSAT is nothing like the SAT'S so then i started thinking... then why is it giving to us what is the reason for it? i remember mr.brown saying that if you take it in your sophomore year and then next year in your junior year it shows if you progress or not with your score. so is this test so see where you stand as far as your knowlege of your readinG and writing?. I don't know but i figured it was not a bad idea for us to take it... also i know it was not manatory so people who didn't want to take did not have to.

Mallory Fazio said...

I think PSATs should be optional and not mandatory. If Joanna is correct and the two are in fact quite different, having a difficult time with the PSATs might discourage kids from ever taking the SATs to avoid the same experience. As we discussed in class, the 1.2 million dollars is only a good idea if every student takes it, but for every student that doesn’t take it, it jacks up the price for the ones who do.
I believe it’s a good idea to hold the PSATs during school hours to make it a tad bit more convenient for students. As for the seniors and freshmen, I think there should be a set plan so that everything is not thrown together at the last minute. If they cannot have a day off, then preparation is key.
In response to “the goddess unknown,” I believe it’s true, there are way too many tests and with each of them piling up, so does stress. Students are under so much pressure to do well on their regents and SATs that they don’t realize they are on the verge of a breakdown or burnout. Do we really need to add an unnecessary test to the ever-growing list?