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Posted September 24, 2012 | comments 6 Comments

Most local 2012 grads outperform peers on SATs

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

The College Board released 2012 SAT results on Monday, and for the most part, students of the Shenandoah Valley are doing better or are at least on par with their peers across the state.

On average, Virginia's 2012 public school graduates outperformed their peers nationwide on the college admissions test in all three SAT subsections. The sections are critical reading, mathematics and writing, and each is worth up to 800 points.

The state saw a slight increase in the number of public school students taking the test in 2012. Virginia's mean scores were 508 in critical reading, 510 in mathematics, and 492 in writing. In comparison, the national mean scores were 491 in critical reading, 505 in mathematics, and 481 in writing.

When it comes to mean scores, Shenandoah County Public Schools did the best when compared to results from the state and Frederick and Warren counties.

The school system had 176 students take the SAT. In critical reading, Shenandoah students achieved three points above the state mean score and 20 points above that of the nation. The county had the same mean score in mathematics as the state, but scored six points better on average in writing than students across the state, and 17 points better than the national average.

Superintendent B. Keith Rowland declined to comment on the fact that the school system did better than other nearby counties.

"I can only say that we are pleased with the results of our students," he said Monday.

Frederick County Public Schools had a record number of students take the SATs in 2012 at 494. According to a press release sent out by the division on Monday, student participation in taking the test has increased every year since 2010.

Frederick County test takers scored one point below the state average in critical reading, the same as the state in mathematics and three points above the state average in writing.

"I'm particularly pleased that more students are taking the SAT each year," said Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Peter Vernimb. "The increased number of test takers indicates more students are interested in attending a college or university that requires the SAT be taken as a prerequisite."

According to the Virginia Department of Education, the number of students statewide taking the rival ACT is increasing, but the SAT still remains the dominant college entrance examination in the state.

Slightly over 200 public school students in Warren County took the SAT in 2012. The school system, on average, came in below state and national mean scores in each section of the test. The mean scores for the county were 490 in critical reading, 488 in mathematics, and 470 in writing.

Superintendent Pamela McInnis said the county is also seeing an increase in the number of students taking the test.

"While we continue to look for improvement in our scores, both [high] schools are making progress in having students achieve at higher levels," she said.

6 Comments | Leave a comment

    Too bad they couldn't add in the scores of homeschoolers. They would have raised the average significantly, although the mean would have been affected only slightly because, even though their performance was superior, they are relatively few in number.

      Ok...can we also add the SAT scores for the homeschool kids that score below the averages too? You seem to paint this fairyland where every homeschooled kid is smarter than the public school taught kids. While I agree many of the homeschoolers are bright...there are many being taught by people who have no idea how to effectively teach.

        Ahem -- "Who are being taught by people who have no idea how" -- effectively to split an infinitive?

        You make my point.

        Homeschoolers are able to concentrate fully on subject matter, all day long. Take it from the beginning of the day: no school-bus bullies, no jail tattoos, no loud vulgarity (which the driver is not allowed to control or to correct), no harassment of modest young girls by the bottom-rungers who rule the school bus ride all the way to school.

        Now, arrive at school: no metal detectors, no drugs, no free condoms and abortion referrals without parental knowledge, no raucous, uncontrollable riots in "class" rooms, no "sexual harassment" lectures condemning "homophobes" -- just a lot of time studying real subject matter!

        Home-schoolers receive great training in economics that public-school pupils miss: they and their parents pay for everything themselves! No free gyms, free books, free buildings, free transportation, uniforms, music teachers -- home-schoolers don't cost the taxpayer a dime. But they keep an eye on every nickel.

        Quick - ask a middle-school pupil how much her education costs.

        [crickets]

        The reporter did not address the SAT score breakdown. How many pupils in her sample got over 2300? I take it that most pupils who took the SAT's were seniors. How many **freshmen** got over 2300?

        Welcome to home school.

        Finally, the one thing that homeschooling parents and public school teachers have in common?

        You can't fire them.

    Isopod Lover, you should come down from your high horse. "Jailhouse tattoos?" You've got to be kidding me. EVERY homeschooled child who has entered my classroom has been behind, clueless, and socially awkward, and the parents have regretted the decision to homeschool. Have you been in a public school classroom? The environment is print-rich, warm and friendly. Teachers are there because they want to teach, not for the money. Try looking into public education, not downing it.

    Your own horse appears to be up on its high heels, ma'am. I'm sorry your classroom is the last resort. I wish you could meet the successes. Their parents sacrifice at least one salary to teach their children at home, while paying taxes for your salary, benefits, bonuses, insurance, and pension. They also save the taxpayers millions of dollars a year (and I repeat, do your pupils know how much taxpayers pay for each pupil each year?).

    Failures? Hardly. Heroes? More likely.

    Congrads to our area schools for being equal to or exceeding the state and national average. I think Warren County has a lot more work to do and it was surprising they were below the state and national averages since they seem to have an attitude that they are smarter than us folk in Shenandoah County.


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