Because of the Texas Education Agency’s goal to track if students are college career ready or military ready, MHS will offer seniors free SAT tests Oct. 16 and will provide juniors free SAT tests in March.
“We’re hoping that students who might not have taken it will go ahead and will try it because there’s nothing to lose,” Academic Associate Principal Ashley Alloway said. “We also want students in an environment that they’re used to, so we’re hoping that some students will actually do better (on the SAT) because it’s part of their routine rather than waking up early on a weekend.”
The school previously discussed offering free SAT tests. Then, the TEA sent an email in August about providing funds to Texas districts for testing. As a result, the school emailed students and decorated the halls with posters announcing the opportunity.
“We wanted to get it out to you guys as quickly as possible, but it was kind of last minute for the seniors,” Alloway said. “This is one of those things we weren’t really planning for, but we’re so grateful to have it.”
As long as the school receives continued funding, all students during their junior year will be able to take a free exam without the essay once. This year seniors can take the test, but moving forward, testing is limited to juniors.
“We only have funding for the SAT,” Alloway said. “We know for some students the ACT is a better test for their learning style, so we’re hoping it’ll expand to ACT, but right now, it seems Texas is more of a SAT state.”
The school day will run like a normal EOC/PSAT testing day because over 450 seniors have registered to take the SAT, which they have to do to be eligible.
“We’re also offering the ASVAB, which is a military readiness test, so we encourage you to take either the SAT, ASVAB, or a college visit,” Alloway said. “The only way that you would get an excused absence is a college visit with proper documentation or something like that.”
English teacher Cindy Bridges said the SAT is great for those who have yet to take the test, but she said she is on the fence about the opportunity.
“I think it’s great, especially for those who can’t afford it,” she said. “(However), on the flip side, when you have every junior (able to) take it, you’re going to have those juniors that really don’t want to or don’t care, so it kind of skews the scores on what our school did.”
Senior John Garcia and his friends are going to take the free SAT tests, but Garcia said he would prefer to see the district funds used differently.
“It’s nice, but I wish that instead our AP tests wouldn’t cost any money like freshman year,” he said. “The SAT costs $60, but I’d rather take four (paid) AP tests.”
The free SAT exams will not only provide college-bound students, who represent a majority of the school, a test and a more comfortable environment, but also a chance to improve their scores.
“Students will take (the exam) and see they did well on this portion, but not so good at other (sections),” Alloway said. “They’ll be able to get tutoring because in winter, the district will offer (free) tutoring sessions so that if you take it again, your score will (likely) go up.”