2016 High School Placement Test

If you are currently enrolled in an Archdiocese of Washington Catholic elementary or middle school, click here for registration details.

About the HSPT

The High School Placement Test (HSPT) is a five-part multiple choice test of verbal, quantitative, reading, mathematics and language arts skills. The exam includes 298 questions and takes 3 hours to administer. This includes two short breaks and 30 minutes for distributing and collecting the answer sheets and test booklets. Subtests and standard testing time limits are as follows: 16 minutes for verbal ability; 30 minutes for quantitative ability; 25 minutes for reading achievement; 45 minutes for mathematics achievement; and 25 minutes for language arts. Students completing the HSPT are ranked in percentiles and scored in relation to two normed groups: those taking the test on the same date nationally and those taking the test in the greater Washington area. Standard scores range from 200-800, with 500 as the mean. The Cognitive Skills Quotient for the combined verbal and quantitative ability scores is interpreted the same way as with the IQ test, with the average being 100. Scoring summaries include Total Cognitive Skills, Total Basic Skills and a composite score based on the five subtests. 

STS first developed the HSPT in 1955. Since that time, STS has revised the HSPT annually in order to ensure its effectiveness for the schools using the test. The HSPT scores are one factor that 11 of the Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Washington consider when reviewing students’ applications to their schools, though schools elsewhere also use this test to assist with educational diagnosis and awarding of scholarships. The Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Diocese of Arlington both utilize the HSPT for admissions purposes, and the Archdiocese of Washington has worked closely to align materials and procedures with these dioceses. For more information about STS and the HSPT, please visit the STS website Getting to Know STS at www.ststesting.com. 

While testing guides are available in bookstores and libraries, intensive content preparation is not advised, as the nature of the test does not lend itself to this kind of preparation.  The Barron's COOP/HSPT/TACHS guide is recommended by Scholastic Testing Services, Inc.  Students should be encouraged to become familiar with the test sections and the kind of questions that they will be expected to address.  Parents and guardians seeking advice on HSPT preparation are encouraged to review guides available in local libraries and bookstores, and may contact Study Buddy, an online tutoring service for information on HSPT prep courses, at 
www.studybuddyhelp.org.  Parents and guardians are encouraged to work with their children well in advance of the date of the test.  Students may take the HSPT only once, so it is important that they are well-rested and calm for the test.   

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