Wednesday, September 14, 2011
FCPS Students Continue to Post SAT and ACT Scores Above State, National Averages
Students in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) class of 2011 outperformed their peers in Virginia and the nation on the SAT, according to results just released by FCPS Superintendent Jack D. Dale. FCPS scores are 39 points above the state’s average in Critical Reading, 54 points above the state’s average in Mathematics, and 45 points above the state’s average in Writing. SAT results compiled by the College Board show that FCPS students posted average scores of 551 in Critical Reading, 563 in Mathematics, and 540 in Writing for an overall composite score of 1654, down from last year’s overall composite score of 1663 (see Table 1). Slight decreases were also observed in state and national composites.
Five schools in Fairfax County made one-year gains in all three sections: Centreville High School, Hayfield Secondary School, Lake Braddock Secondary School, Madison High School, and Woodson High School. Students at Lake Braddock Secondary School posted the greatest gains by increasing the school’s Critical Reading average by 13 points, the Mathematics average by 2 points, and the Writing average by 10 points. Students at Hayfield Secondary School posted the second highest gains, raising the Critical Reading average by 8 points, the Mathematics average by 4 points, and the Writing average by 10 points
(see Table 2).
Of the 25 high schools in FCPS, 15 saw an increase in their Critical Reading average, 11 saw an increase in their Mathematics average, and 10 saw an increase in their Writing average over the last year. Fairfax High School and Madison High School students made steady gains in Critical Reading in each of the last three years while students at Mount Vernon High School made steady gains in both Critical Reading and Mathematics over the last three years.
Additional highlights of the SAT results for FCPS, as reported by the College Board, include the following:
- FCPS students posted higher average scores than students in the state or nation by subgroup in Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing (see Table 3).
- FCPS Asian students exceeded the state average for Asian students by 22 points in Critical Reading, 25 points in Mathematics, and 25 points in Writing (see Table 3).
- FCPS Black students exceeded the state average for Black students by 39 points in Critical Reading, by 38 points in Mathematics, and by 41 points in Writing (see Table 3).
- FCPS Hispanic students exceeded the state average for Hispanic students by 4 points in Critical Reading, by 18 points in Mathematics, and by 5 points in Writing (see Table 3).
- FCPS White students exceeded the state average for White students by 40 points in Critical Reading, by 47 points in Mathematics, and by 42 points in Writing (see Table 3).
- FCPS average scores decreased 1 point in Critical Reading, 5 points in Mathematics, and 3 points in Writing when compared to 2010 results (see Table 1).
- The state average score increased one point from a year ago for Critical Reading, decreased 2 points in Mathematics, and decreased 1 point in Writing (see Table 1).
- The national average score for Critical Reading is down 3 points from a year ago, up 1 point in Mathematics, and down 2 points in Writing (see Table 1).
FCPS does an additional analysis of College Board data that includes only students from FCPS’ class of 2011 in its results(see Table 4). (College Board data may include the scores of students from other jurisdictions and students who are home schooled who took the SAT in Fairfax County high schools and students who are home schooled. The FCPS analysis uses the test scores of students who were members of the senior class in June 2011—based on the FCPS student information system— and race-ethnic designations taken from school registration records. The FCPS analysis excludes all non-FCPS students as well as students who were tested while enrolled in FCPS but who moved or may have been retained and were not part of the senior class.) Data from this FCPS analysis show an average critical reading score of 561, a mathematics score of 574, and a writing score of 554. According to FCPS, 77.7 percent of the FCPS class of 2011 took the SAT; when students attending alternative high schools are included in the calculation the percentage is 73.3 percent.
The ACT tests are designed to assess the general educational development of high school students and the ability of high school students to complete college-level coursework. The tests represent a curriculum-based measure of college readiness in English, mathematics, reading, and science. A writing test is optional.
According to data released by ACT, Inc., the number of FCPS students taking the ACT increased from 3,511 in 2010 to 3,707 in 2011, with average ACT scores increasing across all categories. Table 5 shows the three-year trend of the division’s ACT average scores in comparison to the average scores of Virginia and nation.
FCPS has also released a set of ACT data separate from that reported by the ACT, Inc. The FCPS-compiled data are based on more accurately analyzed FCPS results. A comparison of ACT scores as reported by FCPS and as reported by ACT, Inc. is also included. According to FCPS, approximately 28 percent of the FCPS class of 2011 took the ACT.
Through collaboration with postsecondary institutions, ACT has established college readiness benchmark scores for designated college courses. (English Composition: 18 on ACT English test; Algebra: 22 on Mathematics test; Social Science: 21 on ACT Reading tests; and Biology: 24 on ACT Science test). Highlights of FCPS ACT results on these college readiness benchmarks include the following:
- Eighty-six percent of FCPS students who took ACT tests are ready for college-level coursework in English composition. That can be compared to 76 percent of students in Virginia and 66 percent of students nationwide.
- Seventy-four percent of FCPS students who took ACT tests are ready for college-level coursework in mathematics. That can be compared to 55 percent in Virginia and 45 percent nationwide.
- Seventy-three percent of FCPS students who took ACT tests are ready for college-level coursework in reading. That can be compared to 61 percent in Virginia and 52 percent nationwide.
- Fifty-one percent of FCPS students who took ACT tests are ready for college-level coursework in science. That can be compared to 36 percent in Virginia and 30 percent nationwide.
- Forty-six percent of FCPS students who took ACT tests met all four ACT benchmark scores. That can be compared to 32 percent in Virginia and 25 percent nationwide.
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