SAT prep class gets few visitors

Sept. 30, 2002, midnight | By KC Costanzo | 21 years, 8 months ago

Despite free pizza, only two appear

An SAT preparation class planned by the math department managed to pull in just two students last week during 5A lunch.

The department sent about 60 letters to students and ordered eight pizzas expecting a much larger turnout. Magnet math teacher Eric Walstein who taught the session expressed frustration with the attendance. "To be perfectly honest," he said, "we're very disappointed that more didn't come."

The class was an attempt to help boost SAT scores in accordance with a directive put out by Superintendent Jerry Weast that asked for a 100-point average improvement in both the math and verbal sections. Students who fell within certain scores and were scheduled to take the October 12 SAT were sent letters in the mail asking them to attend the class.

The low turnout could mean no change in the scores this year according to Walstein. "Dr. Weast is going to look at the scores for Blair and ask, ‘How come the score didn't go up?'" he said. "Duh, only two people showed up."

Many students, according to Walstein, cannot afford the SAT courses offered around the county. "Since preparation costs money," he said, "there's a problem with poorer kids not getting any preparation."

Walstein thinks that the push for higher scores comes from people placing too much significance in the test. "The school system is SAT crazy," he said. "The perception is that the SAT determines [your] life, so consequently it's been a priority of the school system."

The lesson focused on test-taking hints and time organization for students looking to improve their math score to the 500s or 600s. Walstein believes the key for students who are taking the SAT and who are not looking for a perfect score is to answer the early questions and keep a low penalty. "Other people don't say this and, as far as I'm concerned," he said, "they're missing the boat."

Walstein asked the two students who attended the meeting to think of a reasonable goal for their math scores. "If you're a senior taking Consumer Math, don't tell me 800," he said.

Two more classes will be held in which Walstein's Analysis II students will assist the targeted teenagers, however Walstein does not expect that just two 45 minute periods will be enough to significantly change the scores.

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KC Costanzo. Keith "KC" Costanzo is one of the brand-spanking-new editors-in-chief of <i>Silver Chips Online</i>. His responsibilities include maintaining the journalistic integrity of the paper and making sure no one spontaneously combusts due to the stress of deadlines. KC enjoys late night frisbee games and long hours … More »

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