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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fairfax County Public Schools Students Continue to Outpace State, Nation on SATs

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) students achieved an average combined score of 1643 systemwide for the total SAT I: Reasoning Test (SAT) and 1108 on the two aspects of the test that have been administered in previous years, Critical Reading and Mathematics. This continues a string of high achievement on the SAT tests, according to figures released by FCPS Superintendent Jack D. Dale. The scores represent tests taken by FCPS seniors in the class of 2006.

These scores reflect recent changes to the SATs, which now include three sections instead of two. The Critical Reading portion of the test was changed by removing the section on analogies, and the Mathematics portion of the test was changed by removing quantitative comparisons and adding some higher level questions. The Writing test was new in 2006.

According to figures compiled by the College Board, which administers the SAT, FCPS students scored much higher on the Mathematics section than students across the nation as well as in Virginia, with an average score of 563, compared to
518 nationwide and 513 statewide. On the Critical Reading section of the SAT, FCPS students also scored significantly higher than students in the nation and in Virginia with an average score of 545, compared to 503 nationwide and 512 statewide. On the new Writing section of the SAT, FCPS students also scored significantly higher than students in the nation and in Virginia with an average score of 535, compared to 497 nationwide and 500 statewide. The Critical Reading average score for FCPS in 2006 decreased by four points when compared to 2005, and the Math score showed a decrease of two points compared to 2005. There are no historical comparative results for the new Writing section of the test.

“Not only do our students continue to excel, but they have also done very well on all sections of the test when compared to Virginia and the nation, including the new Writing test,” said Dale. “We are particularly pleased to see that our Black students have made a very nice increase of nine points in Critical Reading while also continuing an upward trend in Math with a three-point gain this year. And we commend our Asian students who have reached all-time highs in both Critical Reading and Math.”

Following are highlights of the SAT results for FCPS, using College Board-reported data:

  • FCPS Asian students’ scores increased from 2005 to 2006 by 6 points on the Critical Reading section and 3 points on the Math section. (See table 2.)
  • FCPS Black students’ scores increased by 9 points on the Critical Reading section and increased by 3 points on the Math section. (See table 2.)
  • FCPS Hispanic students’ scores decreased by 1 point on the Critical Reading section and 2 points on the Math section. (See table 2.)
  • FCPS White students’ scores decreased by 4 points on the Critical Reading section and 1 point on the Math section. (See table 2.)
  • When compared with 2005 scores, the FCPS average Critical Reading score decreased by 4 points, and the Math score decreased 2 points. The national Critical Reading average decreased by 5 points from 2005 to 2006, and the Math average decreased by 2 points. In Virginia, the average Critical Reading score decreased by 4 points, and the average Math score decreased 1 point. (See table 1.)
  • FCPS students exceeded the national average in Critical Reading by 42 points, in Math by 45 points, and in Writing by 38 points
  • FCPS students exceeded the statewide average in Critical Reading by 33 points, in Math by 50 points, and in Writing by 35 points
  • Critical Reading, Writing, and Math scores for all FCPS ethnic groups exceeded all national and state averages for ethnic groups. (See table 2.)
  • FCPS Asian students’ scores exceeded national Asian students’ scores by 19 points on the Critical Reading section, by 17 points in Writing, and by 15 points on the Math section. (See table 2.)
  • FCPS Black students’ scores exceeded national Black students’ scores by 34 points on the Critical Reading section, 26 points in Writing, and 38 points on the Math section (See table 2.)
  • FCPS Hispanic students’ scores exceeded national Hispanic students’ scores by 40 points on the Critical Reading section, 34 points in Writing, and 40 points on the Math section. (See table 2.)
  • FCPS White students’ scores exceeded national White students’ scores by 41 points on the Critical Reading section, by 36 points in Writing, and 40 points on the Math section. (See table 2.)

Table 1 contains the SAT scores, as reported by the College Board, which uses the scores of every student who took the SATs and who identified him- or herself as a member of the graduating class of 2006 at the time of testing.

Table 2 contains the average scores, by ethnic category, as reported by the College Board.

###

Note: For more information, contact Ray Diroll, director, FCPS Office of Student Testing, at 703-208-7779.

Attachments:

Description of the SAT and Cautions in Interpreting School Results

Table 1: SAT Average Scores for Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia,
and the Nation, 2003 through 2006, as Reported by the College
Board

Table 2: SAT Average Scores for Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia,
and the Nation by Ethnicity, 2003 through 2006, as Reported by
the College Board

Description of the SAT and

Cautions in Interpreting School Results

Description of the SAT

The SAT is a three-hour-and-45-minute test that measures critical reading, mathematical reasoning, and writing skills that students have developed over time and that they need to be successful in college. The new SAT is better aligned with current curriculum and institutional practices in high school and college. By including a third measure of skills—writing—the SAT reinforces the importance of writing throughout a student's education and will help colleges make better admissions and placement decisions. The new SAT was administered for the first time in March 2005 for the class of 2006. Results are reported in three-digit scaled scores on a 200- to 800-point scale. This report summarizes information for 2006 seniors who took the SAT any time during their high school years through June 2006.

Cautions in Interpreting School Test Results

Readers are cautioned not to rely too heavily upon test scores as measures of instructional quality and not to use test scores exclusively to compare schools, areas, or school systems. Any interpretation of SAT results should take into account the following:

  • The SAT does not attempt to assess any specific local high school curriculum or a more general “national curriculum.”
  • The multiple-choice format limits the type of questions that can be asked and the skills that can be covered. For instance, students are not asked to write a sentence or a paragraph. This test does not assess listening or oral communication skills nor does it attempt to measure such work-related attributes as responsibility, initiative, and creativity.
  • Each year’s average score for a school represents the results for a completely different group of students.
  • The average scores of students in smaller high schools will tend to vary more from year to year than the average scores of students from larger schools.
  • Average scores for schools do not give information about how many students scored at a high level or a low level. In each school, many students may score at a high level and many others may score at a low level.
  • Since all students in a school, school system, or state do not take the SAT, and since the population of test takers is self-selected, using aggregate SAT scores to compare or evaluate teachers, schools, systems, states, or other educational units is not valid, and the College Board strongly discourages such use.

Adapted from A Profile of SAT Program Test Takers by the College Board

TABLE 1

SAT

Average Scores

for Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia, and the Nation

2003 Through 2006

AS REPORTED BY THE COLLEGE BOARD

School

Critical Reading Average

Math Average

Writing Average

2003

2004

2005

2006

2003

2004

2005

2006

2006

ANNANDALE HIGH

508

504

505

507

524

515

519

525

499

CENTREVILLE HIGH

522

518

529

518

551

547

553

541

509

CHANTILLY HIGH

539

532

544

535

561

550

568

565

528

EDISON HIGH

502

482

500

502

527

494

512

505

487

FAIRFAX HIGH

518

519

521

520

542

533

553

554

506

FALLS CHURCH HIGH

491

512

494

504

516

531

518

517

488

HAYFIELD SEC.

514

513

513

511

518

520

513

516

501

HERNDON HIGH

525

538

534

525

546

545

550

540

514

LAKE BRADDOCK SEC.

553

555

552

549

573

564

570

570

536

LANGLEY HIGH

587

583

591

597

614

601

608

612

595

LEE HIGH

504

506

520

506

522

519

528

512

502

MADISON HIGH

564

568

571

570

582

573

583

582

550

MARSHALL HIGH

555

562

543

534

569

572

558

552

527

MCLEAN HIGH

557

574

582

583

603

602

605

602

570

MOUNT VERNON HIGH

482

474

479

487

495

476

500

490

476

OAKTON HIGH

550

569

579

568

574

576

588

578

557

ROBINSON SEC.

546

550

552

540

561

558

570

572

536

SOUTH COUNTY SEC.

-

-

-

538

-

-

-

542

516

SOUTH LAKES HIGH

545

539

527

520

547

537

528

528

502

STUART HIGH

519

511

511

491

531

521

521

522

486

TJHSST

730

734

731

717

748

748

749

737

701

WEST POTOMAC HIGH

528

526

512

536

524

512

505

537

523

WEST SPRINGFIELD HIGH

553

546

542

543

570

556

559

560

531

WESTFIELD HIGH

526

528

534

535

540

541

554

556

524

WOODSON HIGH

573

576

574

568

586

583

601

584

559

FCPS

546

547

549

545

564

558

565

563

535

VIRGINIA

514

515

516

512

510

509

514

513

500

NATION

507

508

508

503

519

518

520

518

497


TABLE 2

SAT

Average Scores

for Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia, and the Nation

by Ethnicity

2003 Through 2006

AS REPORTED BY THE COLLEGE BOARD

Critical Reading

MATH

FCPS

VIRGINIA

NATION

FCPS

VIRGINIA

NATION

ASIAN

2003

521

508

508

587

556

575

2004

521

507

507

579

556

577

2005

523

509

511

590

562

580

2006

529

512

510

593

566

578

BLACK

2003

469

434

431

471

420

426

2004

464

433

430

458

421

427

2005

459

436

433

464

429

431

2006

468

438

434

467

429

429

HISPANIC

2003

497

496

453

501

485

459

2004

489

488

456

494

482

460

2005

497

488

458

505

486

464

2006

496

489

456

503

488

463

WHITE

2003

570

536

529

579

528

534

2004

569

534

528

570

524

531

2005

572

538

532

577

532

536

2006

568

533

527

576

532

536

  

Writing

FCPS

VIRGINIA

NATION

ASIAN

2006

529

510

512

BLACK

2006

454

429

428

HISPANIC

2006

485

475

451

WHITE

2006

555

521

519