Beginning in the third year of Lower Elementary, children participate in standardized, growth-focused assessments. The school posts test results for parent review in My BackPack.
However, we believe a child has multiple intelligences, not just those measured by achievement tests. Though we regard these tests as a reflection of how your child compares to other children in these areas, we don’t believe these tests provide a complete assessment of your child’s strengths or limitations. The areas of achievement and of difficulty noted by the staff in your fall and spring conference and in your child’s final evaluation will contain far more valuable information about your child’s performance.
Third through eighth grade students at Post Oak take the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) twice per school year, once in fall and once in spring, and Middle School students have an additional winter testing session. Students use Chromebooks to take this computer-based adaptive test in the subjects of mathematics, reading, and language. Middle School students also take the science test. There is no need for students to study for the MAP assessment. Prior to taking the test for the first time, third graders and students new to Post Oak are given an orientation that includes an opportunity to try some practice questions. All students need is plenty of rest, a few words of encouragement, and a good breakfast.
The PSAT is for grades 9, 10, and 11. Seniors need not participate. The PSAT takes place on the Post Oak campus during the school day (see school calendar for date). Juniors who take the PSAT will also be automatically evaluated for the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test or NMSQT. National Merit honors can open the door to summer programs, as well as great scholarship opportunities from universities that recognize this achievement. Students are automatically registered for the PSAT, therefore there is no need for parents to do anything extra. The PSAT is required of all students in grades 9, 10, and 11. Because we do not require State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing of our students, the PSAT is a great way for them to feel more prepared for the expectations of them leading up to college.
SAT & ACT
The SAT and ACT are not offered on the Post Oak campus, but are offered on national testing dates around the greater Houston area. Students at Post Oak should register to take both the SAT and ACT in the fall or early spring of their junior year (11th grade). In this way, students establish a baseline and learn if they are “SAT testers” or “ACT testers.” Whichever test they perform best on is the test they will study for over the year, then sit for again in the late spring of their junior year.
SAT Subject Tests
Subject tests are area specific exams that are required by specific schools, so students should register for these on a case by case basis. Please speak with our college counseling office should your family need help determining if you are considering an institution that requires SAT subject tests.
Standardized testing is not the be-all and end-all, but it is a strong indicator of success in college for many institutions, so your student will benefit by taking the exams. That being said, there are increasingly more test-optional schools every year, and in the United States alone, 900 bachelor-degree granting institutions are already test-optional. This means these schools consider a variety of other criteria in order to assess your admissibility, rather than relying on testing. These schools range from public to private, small to large, and liberal arts to research. If you or your student are interested in learning more about these schools, please mention it in their college counseling meeting.
Register for Testing
There are links for the SAT and ACT on our college counseling web page. We recommend using a non-Post Oak email to register, as the school email often has filters that can hinder the arrival of important information.
When registering, make sure to include the essay and writing sections of the SAT and ACT respectively. These are important because certain schools will require these assessments—it’s easier to complete them as a matter of course, rather than re-testing simply because a school you’re applying to requires them.
There are many ways of going about test prep. In the fall, students taking the PSAT receive practice tests and resource materials in person from school. If your family is interested in finding one-on-one or classroom-style study help for the SAT or ACT, please let the college counseling office know and we can send you a Post Oak-approved resource list.
SAT/PSAT/SAT Subject Tests (SSD), ACT (TAA) testing, and IB exam (IBO) accommodations are handled through the College Counseling Office. All accommodation information remains strictly confidential during and after this process. Typically, once accommodations are granted, they remain in place for all following exams, up to a maximum of one year after the graduation date of the high school examinee.
To request accommodations for your child, please use the following procedure:
- Fill out the Post Oak Accommodations Request Form.
- Sign the consent to disclosure documents for SSD and/or TAA.
- Send all relevant documentation to the Post Oak College Counseling Office. This will include documents that corroborate the student's need for accommodations. These documents may vary by accommodation requested (see categories listed below).
- The College Counseling Office will process your request with the appropriate office (SSD, TAA, or IBO) and will reach out to the family if more information is required.
- In approximately four to five weeks from the original request date, you will receive your official decision. Please note, the Post Oak counseling staff does not make this decision. The decision is made by the SSD, TAA, and IBO accommodation offices. This process takes time.
- In the meantime, please make sure that your child is registered for their desired exam date. This is important because even if a student is approved for accommodations; if they do not register for that exam date, they cannot test.
In general, when dealing with student files at The Post Oak School, discretion and professionalism always come first. Typically, we will not request a private file from the family unless we need it for the accommodation process for testing, or in school. Psycho-educational testing documents are uploaded by the family to Magnus and remain in this secure system. Any physical copies of student records are always kept in a secure location on site. Access to those files is limited to the head of school, High School director, college counselor, associate admission director, and school counselor. If you have questions about how your child’s information is being used, please contact these individuals at any time. Furthermore, if the High School needs to send your child’s private documents to a third party, (e.g. CollegeBoard, ACT, IB, or other) a consent form is always completed by the family, prior to sending. Those documents are then submitted to that third party via a secure, password-protected online portal, or by fax. These documents are never mailed. Finally, students and their families may be made aware of all accommodation decisions of third parties, by email, phone call, or through in-person communication with family members. Again, if you have a concern about the handling, submission, or storage of private documents, please let one of the aforementioned parties know.