Principal's Message

 

Mr. Sean Gorman

Mr Sean Gorman
 

Principal’s Corner
(Originally featured in the Gloucester City News)

     Nearly 100% of Gloucester High School students were administered either the PSAT or SAT this year.  On Wednesday, October 11th, we participated as a pilot school chosen by College Board to offer the PSAT to all 9th through 11th grade students and the SAT to all 12th grade students during our school day.  This will more than double GHS participation rates in both assessments over the past three years and I am proud of our student’s ambition and work ethic.

     On July 14th, Susan Dynarski, a professor of education, public policy and economics at the University of Michigan. wrote a powerful article in The New York Times making a strong case that it should be cost-free for all high school students to take the SAT and/or ACT.  Dynarski presents some attention-getting data.  First, she points to research that indicates that “a child born into a high-income family is six times as likely to earn a college degree as one who is poor.”  Additionally, she notes that research has also demonstrated that “even for students who perform well in high school, parents’ income strongly predicts whether they will attend and complete college.”

     We are bringing school-wide instruction to higher levels of excellence to pave the way for a greater proportion of our students to get more expansive opportunities to achieve a college degree.  We are now able to analyze an extensive body of data from these assessments that will now be reflective of our entire student population. We have systems in place to best utilize this data.  For example, we use the “AP Potential” report to help identify which AP courses each student is prepared to succeed.  This analysis has led to large increases in GHS student participation in our AP program over the past three school years and prompted the introduction of new AP courses at GHS including AP Language & Composition, AP Psychology, and AP United States Government & Politics.  We are also able to identify specific areas of literacy (Words in Context, Command of Evidence, Expression of Ideas, & Standard English Conventions) and mathematics (Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, and Passport to Advanced Mathematics) that our students need to improve in most.  This data is thoroughly discussed with our staff and instructional plans are developed to respond to this data.  The College Board has made it possible through their Question Analysis Report to access the exact readings and tasks that our students struggled on most during past PSAT/SAT administrations, analyze where the learning disconnects occurred, and utilize these passages and tasks within future instructional plans to maximize student learning.

     Joshua M. Hyman, an assistant professor of public policy at the University of Connecticut, studied the effects of the State of Michigan (beginning in 2007) requiring all high school Juniors to take the SAT.  Hyman analyzed the test scores and college attendance of all public high school students in Michigan, before and after the ACT requirement.  His study found that “it was not just low-achieving students who had been skipping the SAT.  For every 1,000 students who took a college exam when it was optional and achieved high scores, 230 additional high scorers appeared once the test was mandatory. For low-income students, the effect was larger: For every 1,000 students who scored well on the optional test, an additional 480 did so on the mandatory test.”  We are excited about the improvements that administering the PSAT and SAT to all GHS students will bring to instruction throughout our great school and the expanded opportunities available for our students beyond high school.