PSAT schedule wastes valuable learning time


Owen Krucoff, Editor-in-Chief

On Wednesday, October 19, freshmen, sophomores and juniors spent the morning taking some form of the PSAT. Seniors received the morning off and either arrived for classes by 12:15 p.m. or skipped school altogether. Normally, skipping a day of school would result in extra work and consequences for absent students, but on PSAT day, they may have actually been better off. Despite the PSAT taking up the entire morning schedule, all seven class periods were still stuffed into 15-minute compartments between 12:15 and 2:30. When, for the second consecutive year, the PSAT took longer than its scheduled time, all seven classes were further shortened to 13 minutes, with five minutes of transition in between. This effectively rendered all seven periods useless that day, as no meaningful learning or instruction could take place in such a small window of time. No quizzes, tests or coherent lessons could be given. In all English and ESOL classes, students used Chromebooks to cast their votes for the homecoming court. This easily filled enough of the tiny class period to prevent any education whatsoever, and most other classes weren’t much better.

The best way to make PSAT day worth something to students and teachers is to hold three decent-sized class periods in the afternoon rather than cram in seven. If the first class starts at 12:30 as it did this year when the PSAT ran long, there would be enough time to hold three 36-minute periods with the usual six-minute transitions. While it does place different class periods ahead of others by getting an extra day, it is far better than trying to zip around the school in two hours trying to learn what you can for 13 minutes. If the idea of giving three periods more class time than others is so bad, than it would be best to just cancel school altogether. Underclassmen could certainly use the rest after their grueling morning, and seniors are busy enough with college applications anyway. Seniors who elected not to show up on October 19 may in fact be coming out ahead of their peers if they used their extra time at home productively.

Thanks to the ridiculous afternoon schedule used on PSAT day, students and teachers alike lost a valuable day of school. It is in everyone’s best interest to change the way we treat PSAT day and hold either three afternoon classes or none at all. When skipping school is looking like a better option than showing up, it is clear that something needs to change.