DATE: September 27, 2017
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049

SAT, College Readiness Scores Climb in Albemarle County, Continue to Surpass Scores Across Virginia and the Nation

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Average scores on the College Board’s Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) for Albemarle County public high school seniors continued their strong upward trend in 2017, increasing by 32 points on the verbal portion of the test while math scores were 15 points higher. The 2016 results, in turn, were improvements over 2015.

Once again Albemarle County high school students outperformed their state and national peers on the SAT and on a separate measure of college readiness. The average math score for high school seniors in the county was 580, 42 points above the state average and 63 points better than the national average. On the verbal portion of the test, local scores averaged 596, which was 38 points higher than the average of all high school students who took the test in Virginia and 69 points stronger than students who took the test across the nation.

The College Board also provides a college readiness score, which combines all of the test results into a benchmark. According to the Board, students who meet the benchmark have a 65 percent likelihood of achieving a B grade-point average or higher during their first year of college.

In Albemarle, 70 percent of all students who took the SAT test met this benchmark, compared to 52 percent of all students in Virginia and 43 percent of all students in the United States.

“This outstanding performance by our high school students has four authors,” said Dr. Matthew Haas, the school division’s deputy superintendent. “First, of course, are the students themselves, who are incredibly dedicated to their learning. They bring enthusiasm, imagination and energy to the classroom every day, and it shows,” he said.

Dr. Haas also credited teachers, “who make it a core value to engage students, to find their passions, and connect those passions to the discovery process.”

“I firmly believe we also are seeing the return on investment we have made in a curriculum that moves away from traditional practice and places more emphasis on project-based learning. It is those experiences that match up very well with what it takes to succeed in college—critical thinking, problem-solving, being creative and thoughtful, being able to communicate ideas in a compelling way,” Dr. Haas said.

Finally, he added, parents are a valued contributor to these results since learning “really is a collaborative process that does not end when the student leaves school at the end of the day.”

The College Board also reported that 67 percent of public high school students in Virginia earned a grade of “3” or higher on Advanced Placement (AP) tests, which generally qualify high school students for college credit. In Albemarle County high schools, 82 percent of all students who took AP exams scored 3 or higher. Over their high school career in the county, 2017 graduates took a total of 2,236 AP exams and scored a 3 or higher on 79 percent of those tests.

Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, its membership is comprised of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. It annually serves more than seven million students in preparing them for a successful transition to college, and it conducts research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools.

One such research project, summarized in a 2016 report, found that Bachelor’s degree recipients took home 60 percent more in after-tax income than high school graduates. It also found that the unemployment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds with at least a bachelor’s degree was 2.6 percent, compared to a rate of 8.1 percent for high school graduates. It found that college graduates were more likely to volunteer with community organizations, more likely to exercise, more likely to vote, and less likely to smoke than those without a college degree.

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