High School Placement Test (HSPT)

JCA is currently using the High School Placement Test (HSPT) as our placement exam. The HSPT is published by Scholastic Testing Services.

  • The purpose of the High School Placement Test is to identify the skills and knowledge a student has already mastered and those he/she needs to learn.
  • There is no way to study in advance for this test.
  • No student is expected to know all the answers.
  • Follow the directions carefully, avoid careless errors and re-check work.
  • Relax.
  • Get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy breakfast.
  • Bring two #2 pencils. No pens, please. The use of calculators will not be permitted on the math section of the test.
  • Bring completed JCA Application and $30 test fee (if you have not already turned in this information).
  • Arrive at JCA and enter through the main doors (facing Larkin Avenue) by 7:50 a.m. Students arriving later than 8:15 a.m. will have to make arrangements to take a make-up exam.
  • Testing will end at approximately 11:30 a.m.
  • The switchboard will be open to receive emergency phone calls (815.741.0500).
  • Students do not have to be pre-registered for the placement exam…walk-ins will be accepted.

Cognitive Skills – The results from the Verbal Skills and Quantitative Skills subtests together provide a total Cognitive Skills score and a Cognitive Skills Quotient.

Verbal Skills consists of 60 items yielding the Verbal Skills Score. The Verbal Skills measured are synonyms, antonyms, verbal analogies, verbal classifications, and logical reasoning.

Quantitative Skills consists of 52 items yielding the Quantitative Skills score. Number series, number manipulations, and both geometric and nongeometric quantitative comparison items are included.

Basic Skills – The results from the Reading, Mathematics, and Language subtests together provide a total Basic Skills score. Grade equivalents are also provided for each of these subtests.

Reading consists of 62 items yielding the Reading score for the battery. Among the major comprehension skills measured are the ability to remember important ideas and significant details, recognizing central thought or purpose, making logical inferences, and understanding vocabulary in context.

Mathematics consists of 64 items yielding the Mathematics score for the battery. Computation and problem-solving skills are evaluated, along with the student’s knowledge of important concepts and his or her ability to reason.

Language consists of 60 items evaluating student skills in punctuation, capitalization, spelling, grammar, usage, and composition. The results from this test yield the Language score for the battery.

Battery Composite Score – The Composite score is the sum of raw scores on the five subtests of the HSPT converted into a standard score. The battery consists of 298 items, aside from the 40-item optional tests. Of the 298 items, aside from the 40-item optional tests. Of the 298 items, 112 items from the cognitive skills section of the test, and 186 items test basic skills. If any of the five subtests is omitted (aside from the option test), the Composite score cannot be computed.

Scoring of the Battery – The number of questions that a student answers correctly is added for each subtest to determine a raw score. Points are not subtracted for incorrect answers. (There is no penalty for guessing.) Raw scores are then converted into standard scores and percentiles for each subtest.

Composite scores (the Total Cognitive Skills score, Total Basic Skills score, and Battery Composite score) are computed in the same way; they are not simply the average of the parts. Raw scores are added together from the subtests that comprise each composite score and are then converted to standard scores and national percentiles.

Testing Schedule
8:00-8:15 a.m.         Collection of registration materials
8:15-8:50 a.m.         Distribution of testing materials, completion of answer sheet grid
8:50-11:20 a.m.       Testing
11:20-11:30 a.m.      Collection of testing materials and dismissal

Reasons for Administering the Test
At Joliet Catholic Academy we use the test results as an indicator as to the applicant’s probable academic success and as a guideline as to what curriculum/classes the student should be assigned to as a freshman.  For this reason, we refer to the test as a PLACEMENT EXAM  rather than an Entrance Exam.

Usually all students who apply to JCA will be accepted.  However, the students who score in the 20th percentile range and below may be accepted conditionally.  This means, they will first have to attend, and successfully complete, our three-week summer school program before a final letter of acceptance will be issued.

JCA offers three curriculums at the freshman level: Accelerated, Upper College Prep, College Prep

A student may be placed in all classes in one of the three curricula or placed in classes of varied curriculaExample:  As a freshman:  Accelerated English, Accelerated Biology, Accelerated Algebra and Accelerated World History or Accelerated English and World History, Upper College Prep Biology and College Prep Algebra.

The important point to remember is that a student is not necessarily locked into any one curriculum.  Students may have the opportunity to change their curriculum level at various times of their high school career with proper approval.

Other Uses for the Reported Scores

  • One of several criteria for the awarding of Carmelite/Franciscan Scholarships
  • As evidence that we need to revise our curriculum
  • To establish learning plans for individual students
  • To measure the school’s stated course objectives
  • To compare the achievement level of our students with those of students at the same grade level enrolled in schools across the nation
  • To identify gaps in the student’s knowledge base, skills, understanding and ability to apply the knowledge they have learned
  • As an indicator that a student may need special assistance at JCA
  • Guide for counselors to use to assist students with a career path

Academic Resource Center
JCA’s Academic Resource Center is designed to assist those students entering/attending Joliet Catholic Academy who demonstrate a need for remedial, academic assistance at the college preparatory level of instruction.  Students who enter this program receive supplemental instruction one period per day in a small group setting.  Instruction is provided by a certified Learning Disabilities teacher and is centered on the materials and academic content of their college preparatory classes.

Eligible students are able to take the HSPT placement exam with Mrs. Douglas.  The exam format will be modified so there will be no time limit constraints.

Please check the appropriate spaces on the front side of the JCA Application form if your child has a current I.E.P. and/or has received any type of support from special education service providers during grades K-8.

Students participating in the Academic Resource Center will not be enrolled in a science class their freshmen year so they will have a period available to receive ARC services.   Parents who have questions regarding the Academic Resource Center or taking the test without time limits should contact the ARC Director at 815.741.0500.

Test Results
It is our goal to have the results of the testing mailed to the parents and grade schools in mid-February.  The delay depends on how long it takes for JCA to receive the results from HSPT.

One set of scores will be mailed to the applicant’s current 8th grade teacher(s) and principal.  Accompanying the scores is a student placement recommendation form for the teacher to complete and return to JCA.

The parents and student will receive a copy of the report.  A sample of the student report is included in the packet. For placement purposes, we use the National percentile.

A sample Student Report has been included for your perusal.  The section containing the reported scores is called Performance Scores.  On the sample Student Report, the composite score of 87 percentile.  The student’s composite score of 87 means that 87 percent of the students in the norm group received the same score, or a lower score, than the student.  You can also see the National percentiles for each individual testing area. The basic skills portion also shows Grade Equivalent. This student had a reading score which was the equivalent of a tenth grader after the second month of school. If you look to the right section, the Performance Ratings, you see how each area rates from low to high. At the bottom of the page, there is a more specific break down of each skill that was tested and how your child rated on those areas.

HSPT Performance Profile
To view a sample High School Placement Test Performance Profile, click here.

The Final Registration Process

  • Registration night is held in February.
  • Basically, this is the night the parents and students come to JCA to talk with the Department Chairpersons regarding the courses offered at JCA. The student will declare, if eligible, his/her foreign language choice. All freshmen are required to take physical education and computer science.
  • Entering freshmen can declare their interest in enrolling in band. In addition, the student may elect to register for the advanced math placement test, and/or sign up for the Spanish or French proficiency exam. Successful completion of these exams may permit a freshman to enroll in sophomore level courses.
  • JCA personnel will be available to answer questions about tuition, uniforms, transportation and placement.
  • The non-refundable registration fee must be paid on this date.

Find us online