Harlingen middle schoolers beat state average on tests

HARLINGEN — The grades are in and the news is out.

Harlingen’s middle schoolers scored higher than the state average on their PSAT exams, which are pre-SAT tests.

The PSAT helps educators determine how prepared students are to take their SATs, the college entrance exams taken by all seniors.

The district has been offering sessions to prepare eighth graders for PSAT and it’s working, said Alicia Noyola, chief academic officer. They were tested on reading, writing and math, she said.

“They scored 20 points above the state average,” she said. “We’ve been very excited. And we’re glad to see that some of that work was paying off and that our kids as early as middle school are already seeing the importance of being prepared.”

Noyola said the middle school redesign taking place over the past year has included creating college entrance exam classes.

“At middle schools we offer elective classes for students to take in which they’re actually being prepared for PSAT,” Noyola said. “A lot of that work is starting to show results.”

On a broader scale, the district has been holding sessions with students of all ages, even elementary school children, and their parents to create more awareness of the SAT.

“I think that as we build this awareness campaign with our elementary students and our elementary parents we are going to see much more important moving forward,” she said. “We’re bringing focus to ensure that our kids are college ready.”


The PSAT 8/9 is the first in the College Board’s “SAT Suite of Assessments” and is offered to eighth and ninth graders. The purpose of the PSAT 8/9 is to establish a starting point in terms of college and career readiness as students transition to high school. It’s a way for students to practice for the PSAT 10, the PSAT/NMSQT, and the SAT.

The test is offered in the fall and spring. It has three testing areas: Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. The Reading and Writing subject areas are combined for an Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section score. Math has its own separate section score.

On the PSAT 8/9, students will get a total score between 240 and 1440, which is the sum of the two section scores in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math that each range from 120 to 720.

This year’s state average was 796. Harlingen’s eighth graders scored an average of 816.