Op-Ed: New Canaan Needs to Better Prepare Students for SAT

“Talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not.” -Leila Janah 

Recently, I was speaking with a friend and he expressed frustration not only with his performance on the SAT but also his lack of access to test prep resources due to financial constraints. I believe this is unfair given that most students at NCHS can both afford and take for granted that private SAT classes are an essential part of their high school journey. 

We pride ourselves on our academic rigor and extremely strong school district rankings. However, we do very little to prepare all students for the one test that is incredibly important for every student’s future after graduation: the SAT. 

Our town needs to offer SAT prep classes to all students. This is particularly important given an overall decline in New Canaan’s SAT scores from the 2018-19 academic year to the last reportable year, 2022-23, according to state education data. (New Canaan’s scores did improve slightly year-over-year from 2021-22 to 2022-23 in both English-Language Arts and Math, the data say.). 

Why is the SAT so important?

The Grazing Ram: Why We Should Get Rid of Gradeless Classrooms

[Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of “The Grazing Ram,” a new opinion column by New Canaan High School sophomore Leo Mikkola-Patel.]

Breakdown of the Gradeless Classroom Grading System 

The gradeless classroom grading system is used in some English classrooms at New Canaan High School. This has been in place for a number of years.  Throughout the marking period, students complete assignments which are put into the gradebook. These assignments typically are marked as ‘complete’ and have feedback on them, but point values are not attached. During the marking period, teachers assess students on their performance, keeping note on specific categories such as work ethic, timeliness and quality of work. At the end of the marking period, students reflect on their performance throughout the quarter.