SAT Intervention Strategies

August 31, 1999
The following is a summary of current planning and intervention strategies to improve student performance on the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), particularly among Hispanic and African American students. Data on the SAT results for 1999 were presented today (Tuesday, August 31) in a briefing for the news media (see announcement on SAT results).


  • All high school principals and central office units associated with school and student performance have been directed to initiate planning efforts to identify the key steps necessary to stem this decline and achieve long-term improvements.

  • Middle schools and elementary schools will be involved also as the plans are extended throughout each cluster.

  • High school plans will include redirecting "instructionally related activities" time of every high school teacher to this initiative. Principals were informed that systemwide more than 1,900 hours of class time among the 23 high schools are available for instructionally related activities that can be directed toward student preparation and improvement on the SAT, including support for student success in Algebra 1.

  • Extensive outreach efforts also will be undertaken with the Hispanic community to gain greater parent and community involvement and improve student performance. The first meeting was held last Friday night, August 27.

  • A workshop was held yesterday (Monday, August 30) by the Department of Academic Programs for ESOL Parent Specialists to introduce major components of a program to assist parents in helping students prepare and take the SAT, review sample questions and format of the test, and become familiar with the verbal sections of the test in vocabulary, reading comprehension, and analogies. The participants also have begun developing a plan that will identify both short- and long-term strategies to help improve the performance of Hispanic students.

  • High school principals have been given information by the Department of Educational Accountability that identified individual students who have not taken the SAT but who are enrolled in an Algebra 2 or higher mathematics course this year as juniors or seniors.

  • Information about SAT preparation classes, instructional materials, assistance for English Language Learners, financial assistance for the SAT fee, and other sources of support were also presented or identified for immediate follow-through.

  • The Office of School Administration is currently assisting high schools in identifying key elements of the school-based intervention plans. The office is also identifying all available SAT preparation materials and internal and external assistance in English, mathematics, and science curriculum for principals and resource teachers to use in identifying key elements of school-based intervention plans.

  • The Office of Instruction and Program Development has begun revising the SAT Handbook for principals. The handbook contains a checklist of strategies for principals to use to review their individual school-wide practices. Other content included is information for the four academic areas of English, mathematics, social studies and science, guidelines for counselors, teaching strategies for the first English unit of the year with emphasis on SAT vocabulary, and information about addressing critical reading skills instruction in content areas.

  • The Office of Student and Community Services has begun meetings with guidance counselors, including those advising ESOL students, to improve the identification and support for students preparing to take the SAT. A new program to train parents to help other parents is also being initiated.

  • A "TeamMentoring Collaboration" for middle school students was initiated last week (August 23) to encourage teachers, parents, community members, and business executives to work individually with students.

  • A partnership has been established with Montgomery College to orient students and provide assistance in enrollment and participation in the Scholar Program.

  • MEGA radio station is providing a half-hour public service program for ESOL parent specialists to air school information to the Hispanic community.

  • Extensive public service announcements in Spanish for commercial and cable television and radio will be developed to improve community outreach and inclusion.
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