Fulton County students in the ninth and 11th grades will continue to be able to take the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), thanks to funding allocated by the Fulton Board of Education.

“The PSAT is designed to mirror the Scholastic Aptitude Test, so the more times our students have the opportunity to take it, the more comfortable they will become with it as they prepare to take the SAT and look toward college,” said Fulton County Schools Director of Assessment Michael Ilnseher.

At the board’s meeting last week, it approved by a 6-0 vote funds totaling $194,922 for the purchase of PSAT testing materials for students in the ninth and 11th grades, so they have the opportunity to take the test.

Funding for students in the 10th grade to take the PSAT is provided by the state board of education but is only designated for students in that grade, said Fulton district spokesperson Susan Hale.

According to the purchase order for the PSAT materials received by the board, the administration of the test is an important strategy in preparing students for SAT testing.

“The PSAT is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT, and will help Fulton County Schools to determine the percentage of students who are college ready, and allow us to provide additional resources to them,” it stated.

Hale said 8,153 ninth-graders, 7,660 10th-graders and 7,471 11th-graders will take the PSAT in the 2017-18 school year. Ilnseher said it only will be given Oct.11.

He said that the Fulton district decided years ago it would pay for ninth- and 11th-graders to take the PSAT.

Hale said this year, the district laid claim to 123 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, which she called an “extraordinary figure.” The semifinalists nationwide were announced Sept. 13.

Hale credited the PSAT given to ninth- and 11th-graders, at least in part, for the county achieving that high a number of semifinalists.

“The PSAT is one way we are able to achieve those numbers. As with the test given to ninth- and 11th-graders by Fulton County and 10th-graders by the state board of education, we are able to identify those students early and that have a better chance of becoming National Merit Scholars,” she said.

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