Are East’s PSAT scores being affected?

Aly Scott, In-Depth Reporter

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The annual PSAT for the 2019-2020 school year will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 16, and it is more important than ever.

In recent years, the test scores at East High School have been less than promising. According to Illinois Report Card’s website, in 2018, East students as a whole averaged 18% for meeting the standards for ELA (English language and arts), and only 15% of students met standards in mathematics.

Jim Parker, the new East High School principal, dislikes this and will simply not tolerate the placement that East currently upholds. Parker wishes to improve upon these displeasing scores as soon as he possibly can. He explained to the East Highlights team that one of his main goals is to “raise the test scores.”  

Parker has been behind many subtle adjustments at East that are geared to help these test scores, even indirectly. These adjustments range from the increase of hall sweeps to the modified version of the school district’s cell phone policy, where Parker has allowed students with some leeway. 

When asked if these new policies had any effect on our first round of testing, Vanessa Rodriguez, class of 2018, said, “I do feel that phones can be a distraction during class at times, but I also believe that if students want to learn and do well in their classes, they will do that on their own.” 

Another issue going into this year’s testing was the lack of technology our school has had for the past month and a half. This caused concern whether or not students would be ready to take the PSAT tests.

When asked for a comment, Parker said, “We rely on technology so much for our instructions, so it’s really hard to say.” Despite the lack of electronics, though, Principal Parker wanted to keep hope. “I want to say that we’ve had good instructions going on without the technology.” 

When students were asked the same question after taking the tests, Jocelyn Williams, class of 2019, commented, “I feel like I wasn’t affected in a bad way because the teachers covered the material they were supposed to cover.” Williams continued, “If anything, I feel like [the lack of technology] helped and I’ve been able to focus more. It brings us back to the basics with learning, and makes teachers think outside of the box for lessons.” 

Rodriguez agreed with Williams about the electronic shortage not having a negative effect on her PSAT scores. Rodriguez shared, “A lot of what is on the PSAT testing is what we have already learned, or what we are going to learn. We are still doing it, just in a different order.”   

At the end of the day, we will not be able to know if the scores of students were really effected until they have been sent back.