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Seniors should consider taking tests one more time

I know the idea of taking either the SAT or ACT test one more time as a senior at Lakeridge or Lake Oswego High School would be almost as popular as having a root canal without Novocain. However, it might be well worth the effort, because some very special merit-based scholarships are newly offered by schools like the University of Oregon and Oregon State. These scholarships are partially tied to meeting certain scores on those dreaded tests.Barman

The University of Oregon offers two scholarship options. A $5,000 per year scholarship is available to incoming freshmen who have earned at least a 3.8 high school GPA, and scored a combined 1,200 on the critical reading and math sections of the SAT, or a 26 on the ACT test. They offer another $3,500 per year scholarship, called the APEX award, if the incoming freshman has a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 3.65, and an SAT score of 1,150 on the critical reading and math sections , or an ACT score of 25.

Oregon State University offers an Academic Achievement Scholarship of $3,500 for any high school student with a 3.75 GPA and a score of 1,800 on their SAT test.

Additionally, both schools will allow the student to “super score” the SAT. What that means is that the student can take the SAT multiple times and the university will use the highest score achieved by the student on their math or critical reading tests. You can see the clear advantage to taking the SAT test multiple times.

These scholarships are renewable as long as the student maintains a college GPA of 3.0, so the real value can be $14,000 to $20,000.

Time is of the essence as the SAT and ACT scores must be received by both universities by Feb.15. The last possible day to take the SAT test is Jan. 26.

Today it is not unusual for students to take the ACT and or SAT three and four times. I know of no one in the 1970s or 1980s who took the test more than twice. We have students at both high schools who score very well on these tests without help. What concerns me is we have large groups of students who could benefit from PSAT, SAT and/or ACT prep who do not have the resources to have private tutors or specialized help.

To ensure that our kids have a shot at achieving these higher test scores takes new thinking. What about offering a prep class beginning with our freshmen similar to the Scholars Alliance program we offer today? The goal would be to make sure every student is well prepared and comfortable sitting through a three-and-a-half-hour test. There is real value in knowing “how” to take these tests. The results impact each family’s bottom line and also, in many cases, determine whether the student will even be accepted to the school of his or her choice.

I would appreciate your feedback on this subject. Are your students interested in a prep class offered by the district on Saturdays? Would your student be interested in taking an SAT-ACT prep class as an elective during the school day? Do you value a prep class or is the status quo OK? I will share your feedback with my fellow board members.

Thanks and happy new year.

Bob Barman, Lake Oswego, is a member of the Lake Oswego School Board.



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