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Students improve on SAT

Frederick, Shenandoah students see higher scores

By Kim Walter

Virginia's 2013 public school graduates achieved significant gains and outperformed their peers nationwide on the SAT college-admissions test, according to results released Thursday by the College Board.

The SAT includes three separate sections that test ability in critical reading, math and writing. Each of the three sections is worth up to 800 points, making a perfect score of 2400.

The mean composite score for the state's public school test takers was 1517, significantly higher than the nation's mean composite score of 1474.

According to a Thursday release, Frederick County Public School students who took the SAT in 2012-13 performed well and posted the highest mean composite score the school division has achieved in four years.

The division's mean composite score was 1526, up from the 1512 achieved by students who took the SAT in 2011-12. It's also almost 30 points higher than the mean score of 1498 for all students taking the SAT.

Peter Vernimb, the division's assistant superintendent for instruction, said the mean scores increased in all three sections of the SAT last year.

"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," he stated in the release.

A total of 472 Frederick County students took the SAT, which is down from 494 last year.

"The number of students who take the SAT varies from year to year," Vernimb added. "However, our trend over the past several years indicates that an increasing number of students are taking the SAT and exhibiting an interest in attending a college or university that requires the SAT be taken as a prerequisite for admission."

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 public school participants. In all, 67 percent of the state's public school graduates and 71 percent of graduating seniors took the SAT in 2013.

Forty-five percent of Virginia's 2013 public school SAT takers and 46 percent of all SAT takers in the commonwealth achieved the College Board's College -- and Career -- Readiness Benchmark.

The benchmark score of 1550 indicates a 65 percent likelihood of achieving a B-minus grade-point average or higher during the first year of college. Nationwide, 43 percent of SAT takers met the readiness standard.

Shenandoah County Public Schools had 168 test takers. Except for falling short by a few points in the math section, mean composite scores were higher than both the state and national average scores.

The 178 students from Warren County Public Schools who took the SAT didn't fare as well. The mean composite score for critical reading was 494; 470 for math; and 468 for writing, with a total average of 1432 - lower than that of the state and nation.

School officials from Shenandoah and Warren counties did not return a request for comment by Friday evening.

Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or kwalter@nvdaily.com

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