Last year, Walpole High School offered an optional SAT preparatory class after school in order to prepare for the May SAT. Although this offering helped many students practice for the upcoming test, it did not provide the students with enough to feel fully prepared. However, the solution is not to eliminate the practice, but rather to expand their offerings.
Walpole got rid of the short-lived sessions, and they now offer no prep through the school. During these once a week sessions, students completed various practice exercises. To some this practice was very useful, but for most, they sought additional resources in order to feel fully equipped for the test. Now that these sessions are no longer offered, students have to find alternative resources on their own. Preparing for the SAT is the student’s responsibility, and Walpole High does a great job preparing their students for the college process in general; however, when it comes to discussing and preparing students for the SAT or ACT, more progress can be made.
Augmenting the current offerings would greatly benefit the students, as they would not need to look for alternative practice elsewhere. Due to the lack of practice provided to the students, many families seek other means of preparation. Such means may include tutors or additional SAT review classes, both of which are typically very costly. As a result, those who struggle financially are at a disadvantage, and thus have limited resources.
Walpole High has recently informed students through email and flyers about two costly resources: a two-day SAT bootcamp through Catalyst and an in person Kaplan test prep. The Catalyst program costs $175, while the Kaplan prep starts at $899. The former sessions were free, which accommodated many students and families. Walpole High School should consider not only bringing back the sessions, but also offering them earlier so students can prepare for an earlier test date. As possible solution, Walpole High could charge a nominal fee to offset the expense. What Walpole High needs is more practice, more often.
Several schools, such as Braintree and Bishop Feehan, have SAT practice implemented into the curriculum, whether there exists an SAT class during the school day, or simply after school where students receive credit for attending. Students who attended the sessions benefited greatly from the experience. Also, practicing in a group setting with a proctor leading is much more beneficial than practicing alone, as a group setting allows students to collaborate with your peers and ask questions.
Schools assume the role of preparing their students pertaining to the college process, which includes standardized testing. Despite the movement of many schools towards the “test optional” route, the SAT and ACT are still extremely important to the college process for many students. Subsequently, students look to their high schools to help prepare them for these tests. Walpole High School, as a result, should definitely consider offering more regarding SAT preparation, as additional practice is needed for students to feel fully prepared.