As a School that focuses on the holistic development and success of our students, we like to celebrate their outstanding achievements in multiple areas: academics, sports, moral education, service and the arts. We are proud on this occasion to share with you the excellent performance of our Grade 11 students on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT).
The PSAT is one of the assessments designed by the College Board in the United States. The test consists of a Reading, Writing and Language, and Math Test. It has two purposes. One, it helps students prepare for the SAT, which is used in the acceptance process in most U.S. and Canadian universities, much like ENEM is used in Brazil. Two, American students with the highest PSAT scores may qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program. There is a close relationship between the SAT exam and ENEM in both the purpose and type of questioning used in the tests - preparing for one test helps boost performance on both.
Ninety-three percent of our Grade 11 students took the PSAT in 2015, with 24% scoring in the 90th percentile or above. This means that they performed better than 90% of their peers who took the test in the US. Nearly 4 million students took the PSAT in 2015. Forty-four percent of Grade 11 students scored in the 70th Percentile or above. The highest score at Nations was in the 97th percentile.
It is important to highlight that the comparison group is Grade 11 students in the US, most of whom prepare for this exam to enter colleges in the US. Most of our students who took the exam are not native English speakers nor planning to study abroad. Their results show that knowledge, skills and attitudes have no borders. They are ready to perform, without specialized training, to take and pass rigorous and competitive international exams.
We wish to congratulate students and their teachers who have been striving for higher levels of academic rigor and achievement. Teachers are engaging in ongoing training and professional development to develop challenging unit plans and align their teaching and assessment in ways that target students' deeper understanding of concepts and content. The level of commitment to teaching and learning is reflected equally in both our national and international high school programs. The thinking skills needed to understand and interpret texts and information are common to both languages – the same goes for math skills. A cross-training effect is coming into play.
Two of our students who scored 9.8 (Mariana) and 9.6 (Gabriel) in writing on the PAS exam explained this effect in these words. Gabriel said, “Writing well in one language, helps you write well in the other.” “Continuous practice and writing an essay every week has made all the difference,” said Mariana. Both students thanked their teachers Ms. Ilza Helena de Borja (Portuguese) and Ms. Mallory Verick (English) for helping them get top scores on both tests. Congratulations to Nations’ students, teachers and parents for the collaborative work leading to this significant success!