UCS to inform parents about SAT exam

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 30, 2015

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Utica Community Schools officials plan to be an open book in explaining how they hope to help high school students excel on the now-required SAT college entrance exam.

UCS will hold a presentation Oct. 8 at Henry Ford II High School in Sterling Heights to help parents help their children succeed on the exam. The district is holding the presentation with the help of representatives from the College Board, the group that administers the exams.

UCS is promoting the workshop due to Michigan’s new requirement that all 11th-graders take the SAT as part of the Michigan Merit Exam. Students used to have to take a different college entrance exam, the ACT.

School officials said the tests have their similarities, but Superintendent Christine Johns explained why the state is making the SAT switchover, adding that academic rigor is key.

“It better aligns with the state’s standards,” she said.

Robert Monroe, UCS assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, said the SAT requires critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

To prepare for the SAT, students will be required to take the exam’s preliminary form, the PSAT, in ninth and 10th grades, according to school officials. Eleventh-graders will also take the PSAT in the fall as a foretaste of taking the SAT in the spring with the Michigan Merit Exam.

Monroe said the SAT tests student aptitude in reading, English language arts, social studies and science. The exam also has a writing component, he said.

To ease the transition, UCS officials said, students and parents will be able to find resources from the online college and career tool provider Naviance and its Family Connection website.

Officials added that students can use the College Board’s website to gain access to Khan Academy video resources related to the exam. That means that access to exam help is now available to all students, not just families with means.

“Once, families might’ve paid for a course on test taking for the SAT,” Monroe said. “Today, what’s available at UCS is that our parents can go into the College Board (site). Instructional videos are there for them to design their own plan at no cost.”

The UCS presentation for parents on the SAT will take place at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at Henry Ford II High School, 11911 Clinton River Road in Sterling Heights. Admission is free.

Learn more about UCS by visiting www.uticak12.org or by calling (586) 797-1000. Find out more about UCS’s SAT resources by visiting www.uticak12.org/sat.