HTHS Parent Newsletter
September 29, 2023
PSAT Reminders and Strategies
Juniors and Sophomores who signed up to take the PSAT will take that test on Tuesday, October 3. This year the PSAT is being administered electronically nation-wide. There is no make-up for the PSAT. Today before school, students taking the PSAT received a website and login code to access preparation materials, to include a practice test. The PSAT is a much different format than our students are accustomed to seeing. It is important for students wishing to perform well on the PSAT to take at least one practice test under similar testing conditions.
For at least two days before the PSAT students should:
- Get a good night’s sleep – 8 to 10 hours is recommended
- Eat well and drink plenty of water
The morning of the test, students should:
- Eat a breakfast with plenty of protein
- Arrive to HTHS by 8:00 am to find your testing room
- Be sure to bring two sharpened No. 2 pencils, an approved calculator, a bottle of water, and a snack
PSAT Strategies: How to Approach the Digital PSAT
The PSAT is different from the tests you are used to taking in school. The PSAT is going digital as of fall 2023, and while the content of the exam is staying the same, its structure and scoring system will be slightly different than its predecessor. The good news is that you can use the new PSAT’s particular structure to your advantage.
For example, on a test given in school, you probably go through the questions in order. You spend more time on the harder questions than on the easier ones because harder questions are usually worth more points. You probably often show your work because your teacher tells you that how you approach a question is as important as getting the correct answer.
This approach is not optimal for the PSAT. On the PSAT, you benefit from moving around within a section if you come across tough questions, because the harder questions are worth the same number of points as the easier questions. It doesn’t matter how you arrive at the correct answer—only that you select the correct answer choice.
Below, we list three expert PSAT tips to help you increase your PSAT score – and test with confidence.
PSAT Strategy #1: Triage the Test
You do not need to complete questions on the PSAT in order. Every student has different strengths and should attack the test with those strengths in mind. Your main objective on the PSAT should be to score as many points as you can. While approaching questions out of order may seem counter-intuitive, it is a surefire way to achieve your best score.
Just remember, you can skip around within each section, but you cannot work on a section other than the one you’ve been instructed to work on.
To triage the PSAT effectively, do the following:
First, work through all the easy questions that you can do quickly. Skip questions that are hard or time-consuming. For the Reading and Writing & Language Tests, start with the passage you find most manageable and work toward the one you find most challenging. You do not need to go in order!
Next, work through the questions that are doable but time-consuming
Then, work through the hard questions
If you run out of time, pick a Letter of the Day for remaining questions. A Letter of the Day is an answer choice letter (A, B, C, or D) that you choose before Test Day to select for questions you guess on.
PSAT Strategy #2: Use Elimination
Even though there is no wrong-answer penalty on the exam, Elimination is still a crucial PSAT strategy. If you can determine that one or more answer choices are definitely incorrect, you can increase your chances of getting the right answer by paring the selection down.
To eliminate answer choices, do the following:
Read each answer choice
Cross out the answer choices that are incorrect
Take your best guess
PSAT Strategy #3: Take a Guess
Each question on the PSAT has four answer choices and no wrong-answer penalty. That means if you have no idea how to approach a question, you have a 25 percent chance of randomly choosing the correct answer. Even though there’s a 75 percent chance of selecting the incorrect answer, you won’t lose any points for doing so.
The worst that can happen on the PSAT is that you’ll earn zero points on a question, which means you should always at least take a guess, even when you have no idea what to do.
When guessing on a question, do the following:
Always try to strategically eliminate answer choices before guessing
If you run out of time, or have no idea what a question is asking, pick a Letter of the Day EXCEPT “C.” Test makers have figured out students are guessing “C” more often than the other letters so for the hardest questions they are avoiding “C” for the correct answer. Pick “A, B, or D” and stick to that letter for ALL guesses. This will statistically improve your guess odds.
2023-24 HTHS Instructional Goals
Each year the Alabama State Department of Education grades schools across the state. High Schools are graded based upon the following items:
- Achievement as measured by the ACT taken by the Juniors at the school
- Growth as measured when comparing ACT scores with the previous year’s Pre-ACT scores taken Sophomore year
- Attendance as measured by the percent of students who do not miss more than 10% of the school year (for any reason)
- Graduation Rate as measured by the percent of students within the graduation cohort that graduated the previous year
- College and Career Readiness as measured by the percentage of graduating seniors earn at least one college and career readiness indicator, these include:
- A benchmark score on the ACT college entrance exam
- English: 18
- Reading: 22
- Math: 22
- Science: 23
- A qualifying score of three or higher on an Advanced Placement exam,
- A qualifying score of four or higher on an International Baccalaureate exam,
- Earning college credit while in high school,
- Earning silver or gold status on the ACT WorkKeys exam,
- Completing an in-school youth apprenticeship program,
- Earning a career technical industry credential listed on the compendium of valuable credentials of the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways,
- Being accepted into a branch of the military before graduation,
- Attaining career and technical education completer status,
- Any additional college and career readiness indicator approved by the State Board of Education.
Please click the link below to review our current school goals aligned to these measurements. This report card grade and its indicators are directly tied to things such as the U.S. News and World Report rankings, Niche Rankings, etc. People choose to live based upon a few key factors – proximity to their place of employment, culture/safety of the city/township, and the success of the local high school. This responsible growth will ensure our city is economically vibrant and home values continue to rise. Here at Hewitt-Trussville we recognize that we are a microcosm of the city at large. We know you want to win, because we want to win. Help up achieve our goals and continue to push our school to the top!
College and Career Readiness Indicators – Did you know?
Did you know earning at least one College and Career Readiness Indicator is now a graduation requirement for every student in Alabama starting with the class of 2026 and beyond? Here at Hewitt-Trussville High Schools administrators, counselors and teachers are working with students and parents to ensure all of our students earn at least one College and Career Readiness Indicator.
It is critical that we plan for each student to earn this important CCRI and we cannot wait until they are Juniors taking the ACT or Seniors taking the WorkKeys. We need our students to participate in our career academies to earn credentials and become completers. For this reason we will strongly discourage movement out of a career academy pathway. We will continue to expand our AP program offerings and our dual enrollment partnerships and offerings.
October 4 - FEMA Test of Emergency Alert System
On Wednesday, October 4 at 1:20 pm CST (toward the end of 6th period) FEMA will conduct a nation-wide test of the emergency alert system.
Upcoming Testing & E- Learning Days in October
October 10th - All students will have an E-Learning Day
October 24th - All 10th graders will take the Pre-ACT; selected seniors will take the WorkKeys Assessment; all other students will have an E-Learning Day
JDR - Balfour Graduation Supplies
- 9 - Fall Holiday
- 10 - E Learning Day for students
- 24 - Pre-ACT test for sophomore; WorkKeys test for selected seniors; E-llearning day for students not testing
- 10 School Holiday
- 20-24 School Holidays
- 11-15 Fall Semester Exams
- 15 Last day of the semester
- 18 through January 2 School Holidays
- 3 First day of second semester