Inside Scoop on Placement Tests: What to Know & Why to Go
FIRE 27 Families—mark January 7,2023, on your calendar and highlight it in yellow. This is the date for Holy Family Catholic High School Placement Tests for all incoming ninth-grade students. It is your student’s first step to securing a successful academic future at Holy Family.
Parents sometimes have questions about our Placement Tests.
- Why do students take them?
- How is the information used?
- What if my student has a bad testing day?
To help answer these questions, and many more, we are sharing this list of helpful answers. It should give you a complete picture of why Holy Family Placement Testing ensures every student has academic opportunities that uniquely fit his or her needs, interests and strengths.
Q: Is there a difference between an entrance exam and a placement test?
HF: Yes. Typically entrance exam scores are used to determine acceptance into a school. Holy Family does not use entrance exams. Instead, we offer placement tests for incoming freshmen with the goal of placing students in a course level where they can experience success.
Q: Is there only one placement test?
HF: We offer three placement tests:
- Incoming Freshman Placement Test — Broad scope of topics for all incoming freshmen.
- Math Placement Test — Required for students interested in courses beyond Algebra I.
- World Language Placement Test — Required for students interested in taking a foreign language beyond the first level course.
Q: What are the dates for this year’s exams?
HF: The placement tests are scheduled for these dates:
- The High School Placement Test (STS’ High School Placement Test—HSPT®) given to all incoming ninth-grade students is January 8, 2022 beginning at 8 a.m. (please arrive by 7:50 a.m.)
- Math Placement Test is held in early June beginning at 9 a.m (please arrive by 8:50 a.m.)
- World Language Placement Tests are scheduled on an individual basis throughout the summer.
Q: What are the test fees?
HF: The Freshman Placement Test is $25. This fee is waived if there is already an Application for Enrollment on file. There are no fees for the Math or World Language Placement Tests.
Q: How is the STS’ High School Placement Test (HSPT®) used?
HF: The test results are utilized in two ways:
- Provide staff with a clearer academic view of the incoming class. It allows the administration to make staff and curriculum adjustments to suit the needs of the class as a whole.
- Help identify students who need extra academic support or can benefit from encouragement to broaden their academic horizons.
Q: What subject matters does the High School Placement Test include?
HF: The exam covers a broad scope of topics, including, but not limited to: reading comprehension, vocabulary, literary elements, punctuation, spelling, measurements, area, volume, mean and functions. More information can be found on the STS’ High School Placement Test (HSPT®) website.
Q: But wait! If the Math and World Language Placement Tests are conducted after the February 2022 class registration date, how will we know which math and language classes to register for?
HF: Students should register for the math and world language classes that they intend to take in the coming fall. Once placement test results are in, students can make adjustments to their class schedule if necessary.
Q: Does every student have to take a Math Placement Test, and is it the only factor used in placing a student in a math class?
HF: Only incoming ninth-grade students who want to register for math classes higher than Algebra I take the Math Placement Test. There are three test options: Geometry, Algebra II or a higher-level math course. Individual circumstances can be reviewed during the process to decide which test is right for a student.
Q: How can my student prepare for the Math Placement Test?
HF: There are math review packets at http://www.hfchs.org/math-placement-faq/ available online, and we host weekend review sessions prior to the placement test.
Q: Who must take a World Language Placement Test?
HF: Only incoming ninth-grade students who want to register for second year or higher Italian, Latin or Spanish courses take the exam for their language of choice.
Q: How can my child prepare for a World Language Placement Test?
HF: Students should review materials from their previous world language classes.
Q: Can a student take a science/engineering placement test?
HF: All ninth-grade students begin their science discovery with biology, and engineering studies begin in our Technology Studies program. Holy Family offers a pre-engineering course to eighth-grade students. Students who successfully complete the course earn a Holy Family semester technology credit, giving them the opportunity to take Engineering II during their freshman year and compete with our robotics team.
Q: If we have a question about where our student has been placed after receiving test results, what do we do?
HF: Let’s talk about it. Our staff welcomes dialogue with parents and students to ensure we are all on the same page. We want all students to be successful—not overwhelmed or unchallenged. If, for example, a student is on the border of testing into a higher-level math class, there is an opportunity to be re-evaluated through a summer course.
Q: If my student is placed in a class and it becomes clear early in the first quarter that it’s not the right fit, can he or she be moved up or down a level?
HF: Flexibility is important when it comes to finding the right fit for students. We encourage families to contact the student’s teacher and counselor to discuss challenges the student is facing. Often one-on-one sessions with the teacher bring the student up to speed. If the family, counselor and teacher determine a move to a less challenging course is necessary, we’ll do our best to accommodate the change with the least amount of disruption to the student’s overall class schedule.
Q: Do any of the test results move students into Advanced Placement (AP) or Honors classes?
HF: Generally the only Honors option offered to ninth-grade students is in mathematics. There are exceptions. PSAT Tests, measuring readiness for college, are taken in ninth and eleventh grades and help identify AP potential. After ninth grade, teachers will recommend Honors and AP classes to students who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills to be successful in those courses.
Q: Do transfer students have to take any of the placement tests?
HF: Typically, no, they do not. We rely on their incoming transcripts for class placements.
Q: If my student isn’t able to take the tests on the scheduled dates, are there make-up sessions?
HF: Absolutely! Those with conflicts on the date of The High School Placement Test should contact Rory Oster at email@example.com. Contact the school office at 952-443-4659 to make arrangements for another summer test date for math and world language tests. It is recommended that the math test is taken in early June.
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