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Local SAT scores increase, as do the number taking the test

August 30, 2007

When you ask students who have never thought seriously about college to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test, the results are apt to be a mixed bag.

On the one hand, school officials are encouraged that more students see college as an option in their lives. On the other, students who are not as motivated to see academic success might cause average scores to go down.

That's why this year's SAT scores for Washington County are a welcome surprise. Scores rose for the latest test, despite the fact that the exam now includes a section of writing and more complicated algebra problems.

The best news, aside form the scores, might be the percentage of students who are taking the SAT tests. This year, 780 of the county's 1,444 seniors took the test. In 2006, 699 of the county's 1,340 seniors took the test.

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That's a 2 percent increase, which might not seem like a great leap forward, but the trend is moving in the right direction.

No, college is not for everyone, but the value of encouraging students who would not otherwise take the SAT to try it is this: It focuses the students' attention on the future.

In the future - and to a great extent, in the present, a student's future success will depend on whether they have taken college courses or some other kind of advanced training.

Knowing that this is what the school system expects gives students a clue as to what employers will expect. Those applicants coming in the door without a diploma or a certificate of some kind will find that they're at a disadvantage.

And so we celebrate this year's scores, but also praise the fact that more students are realizing that high school is just the start of their learning experiences.

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