College Board Forum 2022

Leveraging Data from PSAT-Related Assessments for Improved Learning and Instruction

On the second day of College Board’s 2022 Forum, Tracy Scholz, director of advanced academic studies for Spring Branch (TX) Independent School District (ISD), discussed how students, educators, schools, and districts can leverage PSAT-related assessments data for improved learning and instruction. After a brief introduction by Derek Kameda, director of AP coordinator experience at College Board, the speaker explained the following “eye-openers.”


  1. Giving a PSAT-related assessment without making use of the data is a missed opportunity.

    The PSAT 8/9 is given to every 8th and 9th grader and the PSAT/NMSQT to every 10th and 11th grader in the Spring Branch ISD, and as Scholz explained, “we were spending a lot of money on these tests and weren’t doing anything with the results.” Once she and her colleagues started digging into the data, they discovered “a wealth of information.”

  2. So much emphasis is placed on the gifted students at the top of the score ranges but leveraging results helps the students in the middle and bottom to grow and improve.

    “My son is only in school to play tennis,” says Scholz. “He was only scoring in the 800s and didn’t mind. I realized by digging into this data, we could help figure out what he needed to work on to improve.”

    Scholz went on to explain she wants all students like her own son to feel like they’re invited to the table, and not excluded automatically because of their initial test scores.

  3. To meet the college readiness benchmark on the PSAT/NMSQT, 11th graders only need to answer about half the questions correctly.

    Scholz explained how to use the PSAT/NMSQT score conversion table to convert raw scores and determine how many more questions a student would need to answer correctly to achieve their target score.

    In the current (paper and pencil) format, there are 91 questions in the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section of the PSAT/NMSQT. The score calculation for this section is (R+W) x 10, so a student would need to answer 21 or 22 of each correctly to meet the 460 benchmark.

    The Math section includes 48 questions and the score calculation is M x 20, so a student would need to answer 22 questions correctly to meet the 510 benchmark. For students that don’t meet the benchmark, it’s less intimidating to set a target to answer a few more questions correctly.

  4. The student score report and the K–12 Reporting Portal both offer valuable data to help students answer those few more questions correctly.

    After the test, students may be inclined to forget it and move on. The Skills Insight tab on the student score report not only shows the difficulty level of correct and incorrect answers but also provides detailed information about what students need to work on to improve their scores.

    Spring Branch ISD goes a step further. By analyzing the questions their students struggled with, and which incorrect answers were most common, educators can adjust their curriculum and testing to give students extra practice with the more difficult concepts.