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George Mason players, students, staff and families spent a lot of time running up and down I-95 last week cheering on the double Mustang state championship runs spanning two weekends. As principal Ty Byrd tweeted...



Major changes in store for 2016 SAT

College Board has startled the education world with its announcement of major changes in its new and improved 2016 SAT

By Julie Smith 

College Board, the creator of the scholastic aptitude test, made an announcement that it will introduce what it calls a ‘new and improved’ SAT starting April 16, 2016. Students of the current sophomore and freshman classes will be the first to tackle the new format, and College Board believes their experience will be a positive one.

“When students open their SAT test books in spring 2016, they’ll encounter an SAT that is more focused and useful than ever before,” said Collegeboard.com

According to College Board, the new SAT will offer a more accurate reflection of what is taught in today’s classrooms, thus being a more accurate assessment of college readiness and success than todays outdated model of the test. The redesigned SAT is centered on five key changes, which very closely resemble the ACT’s testing model

“I saw this coming from the get go,” Judy Bracken, George Mason’s college and career specialist said, “the new SAT is almost exactly like the ACT.

The new test is essentially the same as the ACT. The essay section is optional, points aren’t deducted for wrong answers, and while the ACT doesn’t have vocabulary, the SAT will still have more common vocabulary

The new test will require students to master only relevant vocabulary, whereas the current SAT requires students to spend hours by flashcards memorizing out-of-date and obscure words that they will simply forget the moment they finish the exam. The new SAT will replace the out of date vocabulary with vocabulary that is more often used in classrooms.

There will be no penalty for wrong answers. Currently, the SAT marks off a whole quarter of a point for any incorrectly answered question. College Board is changing this method for the 2016 SAT as it discourages guessing. The new method will allow students to feel confident that they can always try to provide their best answer to every problem, on the test and beyond.

There will also no longer be a required essay. The current SAT requires students to plan, write, and edit an essay all in just 25 minutes. Test makers now believe this to be an inaccurate representation of real world writing and are doing away with it. The new essay will be optional and students who do chose to take it will be given 50 minutes, instead of 25, to plan, craft, and edit their writing.

The new SAT will move back to a 1600-point scale, merging the current sections of critical reading and writing into one new section called evidence-based reading and writing. This redesigned section will more accurately reflect the work of college and career, where a flexible command of evidence is essential.

The new math section will focus on three key areas, problem solving and data analysis, the heart of algebra, and passport to advanced math. Test makers believe that these areas contribute the most to college and career readiness, and that that an understanding of them is essential for most majors and degrees.

“The change is definitely due to the SAT losing market share,” Bracken said. “More kids were taking the ACT, and the SAT definitely noticed, California was even thinking of having its state schools not require the SAT any longer.”

College Board realizes that the old SAT format might not be as beneficial for students in the long run. The re-designed test is supposed to help students better prepare for their lives in college and beyond by using relevant context and questions. Additionally students who will take this test currently have a full two years notice of the changes so that they will be more fully prepared.


Your favorite exhibit-- closed for 5 years?

Your favorite exhibit-- closed for 5 years?

From April 28, 2014 The Deep Time Hall within D.C’s Natural History Museum will close for renovation till spring of 2019

By Blaise Sevier 

Take a deep breath, the whole Natural History building will not be closed for five years-- construction will only take over one section of the building: The Deep Time Hall or more formally known as D.C’s favorite Dinosaur Exhibit. Viewings of the famous Hope diamond, the big elephant, butterfly exhibit will all still be shown on the regular schedule.

The reason for this redesign is simply to refurbish the dinosaur skeletons and expand the exhibit. Also, some of these pieces have been on display for more than eighty years.

“It takes 5 years to do that? That is surprising-- I mean I don’t frequently visit there, but I used to, so I know that parents and kids in the district are going to be kind of scrambling because it is a really great place for kids,” said freshman Hannah Hiscott.

Paleontologists in the National History Museum will be dismounting and removing the visitor favorite, the Wankel Tyrannosaurus Rex very soon.  With this removal, such angst has erupted over this removal that the museum has created a caste of the skull to supplement.

A whopping total of 48 million dollars is the total amount the institute will have to pay for this new design-- but will the dinosaur magic be extinct forever? Even the Director of the Deep Time Hall is slightly worried.

“It’s definitely going to be traumatic for me, because I’m a paleontologist . . .. I’m also thinking of the kids who won’t be able to see the dinosaurs,” said Kirk Johnson, Director of the Deep Time Hall.

In 2013, yearly the Natural History Museum receives more than 8 million visitors-- many come to see this exhibit. To further supplement for the lack of dinosaur presence NIMNH created an online interactive version of the hall.


The Highline Artists - Impromptu Genius

The Highline Artists - Impromptu Genius

Cardboard, acrylic paint, and a brush, that’s all it takes, according to Highline NYC, for people to become artists.

Since upon opening in 2009, tourists and locals alike have come to the Highline in New York City to walk and socialize. Now, the Highline NYC brings a creative aspect to this park, letting people paint whatever they want, and take as much time with their creations as necessary.

“People create the collection here,” says representative of Highline NYC. “You get a piece of cardboard, acrylic paint, a paintbrush, and off you go.”

The paintings vary in size and color. Some depict phrases, others images. There is a whole tower, for example, of different paintings of eyes, and a section for abstract patterns.

The total collection contains about ten thousand individual pieces.

The Lasso, Nine Muses, and the yearbook classes all went to a two -day conference (three- day trip) to New York City as part of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Spring Convention (CSPASC). Taking classes on Thursday and Friday, all of the groups improved their journalism and writing skills.

In between classes at CSPA and time in the famous ‘Times Square,’ Lasso staff members got the chance to visit The Highline, an elevated walkway that was transformed from former railroad and trolley tracks.

Once a fairly unsafe neighborhood full of industrial factories, Chelsea is becoming a culturally diverse area, with attractions such as Chelsea’s Market.

Following the example of Promenade Plantation in Paris and other innovative parks across the globe, New York City might renovate another abandoned track in Queens, New York after the example of the Highline.The Queensway is a stretch of empty railroad tracks of 3.5 miles that hasn’t been used since the 1950’s. The organization Friends of the Queensway have been advocating since 2011 to restore these tracks.




By Allie Plata

The George Mason publication staffs embarked on another successful trip to New York City to attend the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s spring conference last week, capped with The Lasso, GM’s student-run newspaper, winning a prestigious Silver Crown Award, which honors the very best in student publications across the country.

Students from the Lasso (newspaper), Nine Muses (literary magazine), and Mustang (yearbook) attended various workshops each day on the Columbia University Campus to develop new skills and acquire unique information particular to their publication.

The Lasso staff was lucky enough to win a Silver Crown Award, one of only 10 high schools in the country to be honored in the all-digital category. The award was presented to the staff during an awards ceremony held on the campus, and can be found in the Lasso adviser’s room (Mr. Peter Laub) hanging on the wall.

After the workshops ended each day, students hopped on the subway, departed the stunning Columbia University campus, and dove into nights full of adventure. Students took full advantage of the shopping unique to SoHo and Greenwich Village, and some were able to explore the NYU campus with a personal tour from a George Mason alum. The staffs also were able to visit the 9/11 Memorial and see the Phantom of the Opera.

With four chaperones on the trip, students were able to separate into smaller groups to cover as much ground as possible. The Lasso staff headed to the Chelsea neighborhood and walked along the Highline, followed by some snacking on the delicious treats available in the Chelsea Market. To see more of the places that students visited, track the hash tag #MasonTakesManhattan on Twitter.