City, Frederick SAT scores improve

Posted: September 27, 2013

The Winchester Star

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WINCHESTER — The Frederick County and Winchester school divisions bested their state and national peers on the SAT exam that was administered during the 2012-13 school year.

The SAT includes three components — critical reading, math and writing. Each of the three sections is worth up to 800 points, with a perfect score being 2400.

Nationwide, the mean composite score among public school students was 1474. Achievement was flat in reading, dropped two points in mathematics and dropped one point in writing over the previous year.

In Virginia, the mean composite score among public school students was 1517, and average scores rose four points in critical reading, one point in mathematics and two points in writing.

In Frederick County Public Schools, the 472 students who took the SAT in 2012-13 posted a mean composite score of 1526 — the highest the division has seen in four years and up from last year’s mean of 1512.

“The higher scores are one indication that our focus on engaging students in the learning process and providing more rigorous coursework is yielding positive results,” said Peter Vernimb, assistant superintendent for instruction, in a Thursday email.

In Winchester, the 142 students who took the test scored a mean composite score of 1572 — up from last year’s mean of 1524.

George Craig, coordinator of curriculum and instruction, said the higher scores show that the increased rigor in the division’s math and English appear to be working.

“We’re consistently above the nation, meaning the local program is strong,” he said.

In Clarke County, the 126 students who took the test had a mean composite score of 1490 — down from 1539 the year before.

Lisa Floyd, director of curriculum and instruction, said the division’s mean scores in all three subject sections has dropped considerably over the past five years.

“We’re not pleased with that at all,” she said, adding that officials were happy to see the number of students taking the test increase. Three years ago, only 91 took the test.

Floyd said she did not know the reason for the decline in scores, but a team will be put together to determine the problem and how to improve achievement.

A total of 53,072 public school seniors in the state took the SAT — a slight decrease in participation over the previous year’s 53,806, according to a Thursday press release from Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Winchester Public School students were among the 45 percent of Virginia’s public school SAT takers who achieved the College Board’s “College and Career Readiness Benchmark” score of 1550 — which indicates that if students achieve the benchmark there is a 65 percent likelihood of achieving a B-minus grade-point average or higher during the first year of college.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com