Pacific Horizons School surpasses national average test scores

(Press Release) —Pacific Horizons School received news testifying to their high caliber curriculum, teacher quality and academic standards in the 2011/2012 PSAT and SAT standardized tests.

The collective scores of grades 9 -11 on the PSAT are 16% higher than the national average. The Preliminary SAT (PSAT) is also called the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). The test is designed to help students practice for the SAT. It's also used to determine the test-taker's eligibility for scholarships awarded by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Students that score in the 99 percentile on the PSAT become National Merit Scholars. In the eight year history of PHS’s high school, two students have earned the recognition of National Merit Scholar.

This year, the mean score of PHS’s seniors’ SAT scores is 1887! The national average is 1488.

School Director, Mrs. Caroline Tuiolosega, attributes Pacific Horizons School high academic performance to the school’s tradition of recruiting qualified and caring teachers. All of PHS’ teachers from grades K5 through high school hold bachelor degrees or masters in teaching or in the subjects they teach; nearly half hold masters.The school has always known that having teachers with degrees in the subject or content areas that they teach is critical to building a rigorous curriculum.

Mrs. Tuiolosega also said that another important characteristic of PHS is keeping class sizes small. This allows for a more individualized approach to instruction, particularly in the areas of language arts and math.

In a larger, traditional classroom, students who learn quickly are held back while students who need more time are pushed ahead before they are ready. At Pacific Horizons School every effort is made to meet the individual needs of students and this can only be accomplished in a class where the teacher-to-student ratio is kept small.  Class size is usually limited to 16 students at all levels. 

At the high school level, PHS recognizes that their biggest challenge ―their small school size ―can also be their greatest strength. The school has designed a high school program that takes advantage of its small size.

The school makes every effort to include elements in their program that can be more difficult to include in a larger school setting such as close working relationships between students and teachers, rigorous courses with high standards, independent study opportunities, which include online courses, potential for earning high school credit through extra-curricular activities, longer class periods to maximize instructional time, and and full integration of technology into the curriculum. In fact, all high school students at PHS are issued Mac laptops to facilitate the integration of technology in their classes.

PSAT testing is in October each year for eleventh grade students and for tenth and ninth grade students who elect to take the PSAT. The school believes that these tests provide students with valuable practice in taking standardized tests.

PHS also recognizes that although standardized test scores should not be used as the only measure of a student’s academic achievement, they are important for college entrance and are taken seriously by the school.

(Source: PHS media release)


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