West Ada utilizes the PSAT as a checkpoint, alongside the ISAT, in evaluating how well grade levels understand the material taught to them. STEM Coordinator Chris Stoker explained, “We want to make sure there are no areas of weakness in our students’ understanding of lessons, so when we review the data from these exams we decide which lessons our students need more time on.”
Stoker also explained every 10th-grader in West Ada is administered the PSAT, unlike other school districts which may offer the exam only to students desiring recognition for their scores. The National Merit Scholarship Program and National Hispanic Recognition Program, among others, use the PSAT scores as a means of selecting academic high achievers for awards. West Ada 11-graders choose to take the PSAT again following their 10th-grade year.
“Our students, the entire 10th-grade, are earning higher scores on the PSAT than other districts where a more select student base is taking the test,” Stoker boasted. “As a whole grade level, these students are proving they understand the lessons taught in our schools. This means going back to their middle school, elementary and early education experiences – we have prepared them.”
The current math sequence of Math I, Math II and Math III in West Ada high schools became effective in the 2013-2014 school year. Students taking the PSAT in 2016, as represented in this data, learned using this math sequence. This year’s graduating class will be the first group to have completed this math sequence in its entirety.