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Waco ISD Hispanic and African American students  celebrated for exemplary PSAT scores

Standardized tests can be challenging for many high school students. However, both Waco High and University High School students earned national recognition for their scores on the PSAT, a preliminary exam for the SAT, a college entrance exam. 


NAARA/NHRA students pose by the emblem at University High School.NAARA/NHRA Students pose in front of the artwork on lockers at WHS


"Waco ISD has extraordinary students and it is gratifying when they are nationally recognized for their accomplishments," Advanced Academics Director Paula Miller said. "The students that received College Board National Recognition have proven they are academically exceptional in comparison to other students across our nation, so we definitely celebrate them for their effort and hard work." 


More than 30 Waco ISD students earned College Board national awards in the categories of the National African American Recognition Program and/or the National Hispanic Recognition Program and will be honored at the October 26 school board meeting. They are also included in the Waco ISD Superintendent Scholars program for top performers on the PSAT who have scored in the top five, 10 and 15 percent nationally on the most recent administration of the test. The purpose of the program is to create a culture of excellence in academic achievement. 


The school district credits part of these exemplary test scores to having students get comfortable with the PSAT starting in eighth grade and quality, equitable preparation from their classroom teachers.  


"Waco ISD’s number of students who earned College Board national awards through the National African American and Hispanic Recognition Programs has more than tripled this year as compared to last year,” Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon said. “The Board of Trustees and I thank our committed educators who helped these students throughout their educational journeys and prepared them for challenging curriculum and rigorous state and national tests.” 


The PSAT is 2 hours and 45 minutes long and tests students’ skills in reading, writing, and math. To earn one of the College Board National Recognitions, a student must meet the following criteria,

  • GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  • PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 assessment scores that are within the top 10 percent of assessment takers in each state for each award program or earned a score of 3 or higher on 2 or more AP Exams in 9th and 10th grade.
  • Identify as African American/Black, Hispanic American/Latino, or Indigenous/Native or attend school in a rural area or small town.

In addition to honoring the students’ accomplishments, the program also helps create additional pathways to college. Students may include the award on college and scholarship applications, and colleges around the country use the list of College Board honorees to identify high-potential students from underrepresented groups and communities.


“It’s becoming increasingly hard for students to be ‘seen’ during the college recruitment process. We’re exceptionally proud of the National Recognition Programs for celebrating students who are at times overlooked but have shown their outstanding academic abilities,” said Tarlin Ray, senior vice president of BigFuture® at College Board. “This is a benefit not only for students but also for colleges and universities committed to recruiting diverse and talented students.”