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NVDaily

Local public schools on par with national, state averages in '09

By M.K. Luther -- mkluther@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Area county public school students are scoring consistently with the state and national average on the Scholastic Aptitude Tests, according to results released by the College Board this week.

The standardized achievement tests are administered by the College Board and used by most four-year colleges and universities to evaluate students for admission.

The test is divided into three core sections, and students are scored on critical reading, mathematics and writing. The highest possible score for each section is 800.

The 2009 average for Virginia public school students in the critical reading test was 509, 511 in mathematics and 495 in writing.

The 2009 national average for public schools students in the critical reading test was 496, 510 in mathematics and 487 in writing.

Average scores for Frederick County Public Schools students increased from 2008 in all three test sections and had a total 29-point increase in the average composite score, spokesman Steve Edwards said.

Frederick County students had an average critical reading score of 517, up from 507 last year, an average mathematics score of 515, up from 507 last year, and an average score of 494 in writing, up from 483 last year.

"We are just pleased with the improvement we saw this year and hope to see that trend continue," Edwards said.

Clarke County students exceeded the state average by 13 points in mathematics, 25 points in reading, and 26 points in writing, and raised the average score in all three sections from 2008 test average scores, according to a news release from Clarke County Public Schools.

Clarke County had an average critical reading score of 534, a mathematics score of 524, and an average writing score of 521.

The county students' scores were above the national average by 14 points in mathematics, 38 points in reading and 34 points in writing. Overall, Clarke students' scores were 64 points above the state average and 86 points above the national mean, the release states.

For Shenandoah County Public Schools, Central High School students increased their average score in all three sections of the test. Central students' average score jumped 35 points to 547 in critical reading, rose 13 points to 529 in mathematics, and increased 33 points to a score of 530 in writing, said Superintendent Keith Rowland.

Strasburg High School scored 532 in critical reading, up by 20 points from last year, 531 in mathematics and 535 in writing. Stonewall High School was the only county high school to have a dip in test scores, with an average score of 494 in reading, 489 in mathematics, and 478 in writing.

"We are pretty pleased with these test results," Rowland said.

Although Warren County's two high schools lagged behind the state and national average, the schools as a whole have shown a steady increase over the years, said Director of Administrator Support Gregory Drescher.

"Each progressive year, it [the SAT average score] has gone up a little," Drescher said.

The county's newest high school, Skyline, had an average critical reading score of 493, average mathematics score of 470 and average writing score of 462. Warren County High School had an average critical reading score of 506, average mathematics score of 492 and average writing score of 488.

Winchester's only high school, John Handley, had an increased average score in all three test sections, but showed the greatest increase in critical reading, rising from a score of 518 in 2008 to 526. Handley students averaged 527 in mathematics and 516 in writing.

Director of Instruction Lynda Hickey credited the increases to the improvement of the school's curriculum.

"We have really looked across the board -- K-12 -- and accelerated across the board," Hickey said.




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