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Student SAT scores up from last year

August 29, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Washington County seniors scored higher on their SATs this year than last, despite a more rigorous exam, and officials say more students are taking the college entrance exam.

But scores are lower than they were in 2004, before the test included a writing section and higher-level algebra questions, according to previously released data.

"In past years, (SAT scores) have not been what we hoped they would be," Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said. "(This year's success) is a reflection of increased rigor and higher standards we have for our students."

The SAT includes sections in critical reading (verbal), math and writing. Scores in each section range from 200 to 800.

The average critical reading score for seniors in Washington County this year was 495, up four points from the average in 2006, officials said Tuesday. The average score in 2004 was 505 - a three-year high.

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This year's results were below the state average of 500, and the national average of 502.

The average score locally in the math section was 520, up one point from 2006. The average math score for local students in 2004 was 523, officials said.

This year's average math score was higher than the state (502) and national averages (515).

Students' average score in the SAT's writing section was 491, four points higher than in 2006, but still lower than the state (496) and national averages (494).

Taking the combined average of all three sections, the average SAT score of a Washington County student was 1,506.

"Increased SAT scores give kids more opportunities," Morgan said.

This year, 54 percent (780 students) of Washington County's 1,444 seniors took the SAT, officials said. That is nearly two percentage points higher than in 2006, when 699 (52.2 percent) of the county's 1,340 seniors took the test.

SAT specialist Lori Parks Murphy said the school system has emphasized rigorous courses, like Advanced Placement courses, to prepare students for the college entrance exam.

She said many other instructional tools have been provided to help students succeed. An online SAT course was purchased for all county high school students, and 1,500 students were enrolled during the last school year, she said.

Additional training and help for students and teachers also was available, and officials said they continue to analyze student data.

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