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For Immediate Release (00-58)
Date: October 12, 2000
Contact: Steve Simon, Montgomery College, 240-567-7952 (Pager: 301-930-2880)
              Kate Harrison, Montgomery County Public Schools, 301-279-3853

MCPS/Montgomery College Partnership to Increase College Preparedness
by Using Early PSAT Administration to Monitor Student Readiness

Students in Grade 10 throughout Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) will be taking the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) during the school day on October 17. A partnership between Montgomery College and Montgomery County Public Schools has made this testing opportunity possible without charge to individual students.

The PSAT, typically taken by students in Grade 11, will be administered to students in Grade 10 as a way to monitor their readiness for college-level courses and to provide them with practice in taking the test. The purpose of the test administration is to help increase the number of MCPS graduates who are fully prepared for success in college-level courses.

The October 17 administration of the PSAT is part of MCPS's commitment to hold high expectations for all students and responds to a need for increased literacy skills for incoming college freshman, as identified by the Maryland Higher Education Commission in its “Maryland Student Outcomes and Achievement Report (SOAR).” The report indicates that a significant number of MCPS graduates do not have the literacy skills to ensure success at Montgomery College. Ongoing monitoring of students’ readiness for college is necessary to ensure that all students attain the highest literacy levels possible.

This is the first time that students across the county will have equal access to the PSAT. Students who could not otherwise afford to take the test, students who have job, babysitting, or other commitments on regularly-scheduled Saturday test dates, and students who do not view themselves as “college bound” will share access to the test.

MCPS and Montgomery College representatives are working together to plan intervention activities for students whose test scores indicate they are not prepared for success in college-level courses. Administrators and teachers in each high school, for example, can use the results to identify students whose scores indicate that they should be in more rigorous classes. In addition, the test administration provides a way for students to become familiar and comfortable with this important test earlier in the high school program. On a school-wide and system-wide basis, staff can use test results for instructional planning, curriculum revision, and staff development.

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