Colorado's State Assessment System

In Colorado, the state assessment system for high school students in grades 9-11 includes the use of the PSAT® and SAT® exams.

In Colorado, the state assessment system for high school students in grades 9-11 includes the use of the PSAT® and SAT® exams. These exams are administered to all students at no cost and are used to measure student achievement and college readiness.

According to Colorado Department of Education, while state assessments are only one measure of student learning, having all high school Colorado students take the PSAT® and SAT® provides parents with answers to these questions:

Questions for Colorado Parents: 

  • Did my child meet the state standards? 
  • How is my child doing academically after the disruptions caused by the pandemic?
  • Does my child need additional services and help?
  • How well is my child doing compared to other students in the same grade?
  • Which schools and districts perform best in preparing students for academic success?
  • Which districts have the best performance on the state assessments for children with special needs?

The PSAT®, or Preliminary SAT®, is typically administered to 9th and 10th graders. This exam is designed to provide students with an early indication of their readiness for the SAT® and to help them identify areas where they may need additional preparation. The PSAT® also serves as the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program, which recognizes academically talented students and provides them with scholarships for college.

The SAT®, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, is typically administered to 11th graders. 

The SAT® is: 

  • A widely recognized college entrance exam that measures a student's knowledge and skills in reading, writing, and mathematics
  • Used by colleges and universities to assess a student's readiness for college-level coursework and to make admissions decisions

In Colorado, the PSAT® and SAT® are used as part of the state's assessment system to measure student achievement and college readiness. The results of these exams provide valuable information to students, educators, and parents about a student's academic strengths and weaknesses, and can be used to inform instruction and support student success.

It's important to note that the PSAT® and SAT® are not the only factors that colleges use to make admissions decisions, but they can be important information for students and educators to have as they plan and prepare for college. 

Other factors colleges and universities use for admission decisions:

  • High school GPA
  • High school course selection and rigor
  • Extracurricular activities and leadership experience
  • Community service and volunteer experience
  • Work experience
  • Personal statement or essay
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers or counselors
  • Interview (if applicable)
  • Special talents or abilities (such as athletic or artistic achievements)
  • Demographic information (such as first-generation college student or low-income)
  • Legacy status (if applicant is related to an alum of the school)
  • Interviews with the applicants
  • College or university's acceptance rate and yield (percentage of accepted students who choose to enroll)

Overall, the use of the PSAT® and SAT® as part of Colorado's state assessment system helps to ensure that students are on track for college readiness and success, and provides valuable information to support student achievement.

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