8th grade Xavier applicants take HSPT


April Tanner/XPress photo

As the 8th graders begin to arrive to take their High School Placement Test at Xavier, Student Ambassador Kennedy Mehr waits to greet them at the Circle

April Tanner, Staff Writer

To prepare for entrance into a Catholic high school, 8th graders take the High School Placement Test (HSPT) at a school they wish to attend. This test was administered on January 9 and 23 at Xavier College Preparatory and at all the other Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Phoenix. 

The HSPT is a timed and standardized test made by the Scholastic Testing Service. The different sections of the test include verbal skills, quantitative skills, reading comprehension, mathematics and language skills.

For some students, the HSPT is their introduction to standardized testing. In order to prepare for the HSPT, students take practice tests in order to help them to develop test-taking skills, which will help them in their four years of high school at Xavier with taking other standardized tests like the PSAT, SAT and ACT.

Freshwoman Emma Mackay said that the HSPT helped her “to measure (her) level of understanding in each subject, and it helped (to) introduce (her) to standardized test-taking.”

The HSPT may only be taken once and the 8th graders can ask for their test scores to be sent to a total of three other Catholic high schools at the same time.

This test helps the applicant’s school with admissions and class placements for their possible summer school classes before freshman year and their actual freshman school year classes. 

Nancy Schissel, director of admission records, said that the 8th grade students “are normed against their peers that have taken (the HSPT) in our diocese on the same day, so that with the rest of their profile, other standardized testing, their grades, recommendations, all create a profile that we utilize in acceptance and placement.

For taking the HSPT at Xavier this year, Schissel said that fewer girls were put into each classroom, social distancing was implemented, masks were required, the teacher made seating charts for contact tracing and gloves and sanitizer were provided.

Sophomore Kennedy Mehr said that the HSPT helped her to test into the right classes because it allowed her to know if she could take AP, honors or regular.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Schissel said that most of the application process is now online, but there is the same amount of applicants who are interested in Xavier compared to previous years.

In February, the 8th grade students who completed their application process for Xavier will get their scores mailed to them with a letter stating their admissions status.