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Colorado School Day SAT and PSAT
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Colorado has given a college entrance exam each spring to all 11th graders enrolled in public schools since 2001. In 2015 the Colorado legislature passed House Bill 15-1323, requiring the state to competitively bid for a new 10th grade exam that is aligned to both the Colorado Academic Standards and an 11th grade college entrance exam. The legislation also added the opportunity for students to take an additional, optional essay as part of their college entrance exam at no cost to the student. The selection committee chose the PSAT for 10th graders and the SAT for the 11th grade college entrance exam because of their alignment to the high school Colorado Academic Standards and because the College Board’s reports and free test preparation services could be used by all students. For 2018, the PSAT 8/9 was added for students in grade 9. In Spring 2023, CDE underwent a procurement process and the digital SAT suite was selected for administration starting in Spring 2024.
The SAT is closely aligned to challenging classroom work of Colorado schools and focuses on the key skills and concepts that evidence shows matter most for college and career readiness, including:
- Mathematical concepts, skills, and practices important for success in career training programs.
- Reading, comprehending, and writing high-quality essays supported by evidence.
The SAT also serves as an admission test and is accepted by every college in the United States. At the time of testing, students can send their scores to up to four colleges for free. The SAT essay can also be taken as part of the Colorado school day SAT administration. The SAT essay is optional and voluntary and can be added at no cost to students
All students who are enrolled in 11th grade at a Colorado public high school are eligible to take the SAT
The PSAT tests the same skills and knowledge as the SAT in a way that makes sense for 9th and 10th-graders. It builds on the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) tests in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The PSAT also aligns with Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) and with the SAT that students will take in 11th grade.
The PSAT focuses on the knowledge, skills, and understandings that research has identified as most important for college and career readiness and success. In addition to helping students practice for the SAT, it can identify student’s potential for success in advanced course work. It provides more data than ever before about academic strengths and weaknesses as well as access to millions of dollars in potential scholarships.
Ninth graders attending public schools in Colorado began taking the PSAT 8/9 in the spring of 2018. Tenth graders began taking PSAT 10 in the spring 2016 and public school 11th graders began taking the SAT in spring of 2017.
The College Board has partnered with online education provider Khan Academy® to provide free online SAT practice to all students.
By creating a free Khan Academy student account, students are able to take eight official full-length SAT practice tests including two SAT with Essay practice tests, access thousands of practice questions, video lessons, and hints, and receive study and test-taking tips. In addition, students can personalize their SAT practice by taking eight diagnostic quizzes or seeing personalized practice recommendations based on the student’s PSAT results by linking their College Board and Khan Academy accounts.
Creating a College Board and/or Khan Academy account is optional and voluntary for students. The Colorado Department of Education strongly recommends that students and parents review and discuss the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policies of these organizations prior to creating an online account.
- April 15 - April 26, 2024 Additional information about specific testing date requirements and options will be provided at a later date.
- Guidance for Administering the Colorado School Day PSAT and SAT to First Year in the U.S. Multilingual Learners
- College Board-Approved Word-to-Word Glossaries for the SAT Suite of Assessments
- SAT Translated Test Directions (Select Accommodations and Supports in the Jump To menu and scroll down)
The College Board provides two types of accommodations for the SAT Suite of Assessments. College Board Approved Accommodations and State-allowed Accommodations or SAAAs.
College Board Approved Accommodations are designed for students with documented disabilities and must be approved in advance by College Board. Students who are approved for College Board accommodations will receive college reportable scores. Once approved for accommodations, with limited exceptions, a student remains approved for all College Board tests.
State-allowed Accommodations (SAAs) are state-specific accommodations defined by the state that require a request to be submitted and are automatically approved. Schools and students will receive scores for students testing with SAAs and those scores are used for accountability participation. However, the scores are not college or scholarship-reportable. These accommodations apply to state testing only and are requested for each state administration. Refer to information available through your state as to how these scores are used for accountability.
All requests for accommodations are submitted by the designated SSD coordinator in the College Board online system, called SSD Online. The below links provide additional information regarding the accommodations request process and SSD Online.
- Understanding the College Board Accommodations Process
- Colorado Consent Form for Accommodations Requests Submitted via SSD Online - PDF
- Colorado Consent Form for Accommodations Requests Submitted via SSD Online (Spanish)- PDF “Coming Soon”
- Colorado Consent Form for State Allowed Accommodations
- Colorado Consent Form for EL Time and One-half Support
- Accommodations Crosswalk
SAT & PSAT student score reports are typically available in early June by logging into the College Board’s student score reporting portal. To access the score reporting portal, create a College Board student account, or if you already have one, just sign in.
Online student score reports give students an understanding beyond the numbers and provide a detailed breakdown of their performance. Score reports provide:
- Performance summaries for each section of the test
- Insight into strengths and weaknesses with results grouped by content area, skillset, and level of difficulty
- Percentiles to see how student results compare with those of other students like them
- Colorado Student Access Scores for the SAT Suite of Assessments Flyer (PDF)
- Understanding Your Scores
- Understanding Your Scores (Spanish)
- Access Your Scores: Student Score Report
- FAQs- S.B. 20-175- Assessment Scores on a Student’s Final Transcript
- Understanding PSAT 9 Scores (PDF)
- Understanding PSAT 10 scores (PDF)
Performance Level Descriptors
Students performing at this level exceed academic expectations for the knowledge, skills and practices known to be most relevant for success in college and careers contained in the assessed high school Colorado Academic Standards.
Students are very likely to engage successfully in entry-level, credit-bearing courses.
Students performing at this level meet the academic expectations for the knowledge, skills and practices known to be most relevant for success in college and careers contained in the assessed high school Colorado Academic Standards.
Students are likely to engage successfully in entry-level, credit-bearing courses.
Students performing at this level approach the academic expectations for the knowledge, skills and practices known to be most relevant for success in college and careers contained in the assessed high school Colorado Academic Standards.
With continued coursework, students are likely to engage successfully in entry-level, credit-bearing courses.
Students performing at this level may minimally approach the academic expectations for the knowledge, skills and practices known to be most relevant for success in college and careers contained in the assessed high school Colorado Academic Standards.
With significant additional coursework, students may engage successfully in entry-level, credit-bearing courses.
* Indicates readiness for credit-bearing college entry coursework and career
Threshold Descriptors (TLDs)
During the March 2020 State Board meeting, the State Board of Education approved the Cut-scores and Threshold descriptors (TDs) for the Colorado SAT. The TDs for Math and English Language Arts and Literacy represents a composite of student performance at one (or more) of several score bands on the 11th grade English and Math Tests. The framework is correlated with empirically derived test benchmarks for college and career readiness and success as well as Colorado’s academic standards.
Performance Level Cut Scores
Students taking SAT assessments receive an overall scale score. During the standard setting process, educators used scale scores to set cuts for each performance level based on the specific content that students should be able to engage with at each performance level.
Educators from around the state participated in the process to determine the cut-scores. The presentation that provides a more detailed explanation can be found here.
- Colorado SAT and PSAT 10 Key Dates
- Colorado PSAT and SAT Overview
- Accessing SAT Assessment Results
- Professional Development Module: Using Scores and Reporting to Inform Instruction (PPT)
- Colorado PSAT-Related Assessments Benefits Flyer
- Digital SAT Suite Assessment Framework