Test takers up but SAT scores drop


The 2007 SAT scores have been released and T. C. Williams students scores are down from last year.

In 2006, the school scored an average of 1530, which dropped to 1462 in 2007a 68-point drop. In Virginia, students scored an average of 1520, while nationally, the composite score was 1511.

The College Board released the SAT information on Tuesday. The SAT test is comprised of three parts: reading, math and writing. Students have the potential to score 800 points on each section, for a perfect score of 2400. T. C. students scored 490 in reading, as opposed to 512 in 2006. In math, T. C. students scored 491, down from 509 in 2006.

At the same time, state and national scores decreased from last years figures as well.

Writing scores also sank, from 509 in 2006 to 481 in 2007. 

The number of T. C. students who took the SAT test continued to increase, from 62 percent or 350 students in 2006 to 72 percent or 398 students in 2007. These numbers represent members of the 2007 graduating class who took the test at any time during high school, and reflect the highest score for students who took the test multiple times.

Last year we saw a hard-to-repeat, dramatic increase in test scores over the previous years results, said Superintendent Rebecca L. Perry, in a prepared statement. This years scores are still higher than in 2005, and Im especially pleased with the overall increase in the number of students taking the test, and also with the increase in the number of students taking the test who qualify for free and reduced price meals.

Students who took the SAT test in 2007 were more diverse than ever before. Sixty-six percent of the test-takers at T. C. were minority students, up from 57 percent in 2006. In Virginia, only 36 percent of the SAT test-takers were minority students and nationally, minority students represented 39 percent of the SAT test-takers.

Nationally, and at T. C., white students continue to outperform minority students on the SAT test. White students at T. C. had a composite score of 1706; black students, 1262; Hispanic students, 1360 and Asian students, 1482. 

Work to do ahead
Since 2003, SAT scores for T. C. Williams students have remained relatively flat: the average composite score was 988 in 2003 and 981 in 2007, excluding the writing test, which was added in 2006.

While the quality of a school system cannot be measured by the test results of college-bound students alone, the five-year trend in SAT scores indicates we have some work to do system-wide in preparing all of our students for a productive life after high school, said Alexandria school board member Scott Newsham. 

Given the financial resources that Alexandrians continue to provide for their public schools, the excellent teachers and administrators working every day in the schools, and the broad community support of public education, Im confident we can see significant improvements in the near future, he added.