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For Hartford Students A Must-Take Test

SATs College-entrance exams ought to be an expected ritual in Hartford

Hartford Courant Editorial

October 16, 2012

Tensions between the Hartford school board and superintendent have taken the spotlight off one thing they fought over SAT tests that hundreds of high school seniors are taking today for free in their own schools.

These tests are good for Hartford. They're a weapon in the battle against the "soft bigotry of low expectations," to borrow the Bush-era phrase.

Some 675 seniors in eight low-performing schools a majority of high schools in the city are expected to take the tests. This is Hartford's second year participating in the SAT School Day program, as it's called by the College Board, which administers it. Before this program, there was no easy way of tracking how many students were taking SATs and how they were doing. This testing is giving educators a new tool to monitor how college-ready kids are.

The school board was wary at first of approving $100,000 for the program this year. Members said they hadn't gotten enough information on how teachers would improve scores from last year, when more than 1,000 juniors and seniors participated. The results were disappointing, but they were at least a baseline to work from.

Taking the SAT, however, is a rite of passage for high school children in rich suburbs. So it should be for the children of Hartford. The SATs are used by most colleges to determine admission and scholarships. The more kids take the exams, the faster they will become the norm in a city where college is too often a pipe dream.

Fortunately, the board approved the money for today's free tests. They usually cost $77 and are given in a central location on Saturdays, when transportation and work schedules can be problematic.

The College Board is giving Hartford and a handful of other districts reports on every student's weaknesses so educators can better prepare them for college-level work.

So good luck today, students. And write a note of thanks to the school board for giving you this chance.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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