Klahowya SAT scores show top improvement

Scores have come back on nationwide tests to predict whether or not your Central Kitsap high schooler will make it to college.

And stay there... and graduate.

One test, the SAT, was well represented in CK but showed little change in scores. Happily, said officials, those changes were mostly upward. A second test, the APt, showed growth in participation. A third test, ACT, was virtually ignored.

(Klahowya Secondary School was the exception. Its SAT verbal scores jumped 17 points between 2001 and 2002 — 497 to 514 — more change than any other school. At CK High it went the other way, 542 to 535.

Officials said moving students from an overcrowded CKHS and Olympic High to the relatively new KSS, which opened in 1997, explains part of the variability of scores. Also, Linda Elman, CK director of research and evaluation, said occasional jumps of up to 20 points are not unusual in smaller, still-growing schools such as KSS. Only 77 students took the test at KSS this year. If a few gifted kids enrolled between one year and the next, it could easily distort the results upward.

Participation is voluntary for the three tests — which can be taken repeatedly — with the best score counting as the final score. They differ from WASL (which is mandatory) and similar elementary and secondary tests in that they are forward looking, said officials, an effort to predict future success in advanced education.

The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is probably the oldest, and was taken by the greatest number of students — at least in Washington and on the West Coast. The American College Test (ACT) is popular in the East and rarely taken here. The Advanced Placement test (APt) is more popular than ever, and measures a student’s progress after they’ve taken college-style (“Advanced Placement”) courses in high school.

According to Dr. Janell Newman, CK’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, SAT was taken by 425 Central Kitsap seniors and the APt was taken by 500 secondary students. The SAT is taken by all students who are considering entering a four-year college, either within or outside the state.

AP tests are taken by any secondary students enrolled in college-level classes. The American College Test (ACT) was taken by so few students, the results have not been released.

l SAT 2002 results: The seniors who took this test scored 527 on the verbal portion and 523 on math (the only two categories measured). For CK School District, these scores represent a 1-point increase in verbal and a 3-point decrease in math since 2001.

Since 1996, average scores have increased 4 points on verbal and 2 points on math. A score of 500 is the baseline; 800 is a “perfect” score.

CK verbals were two points higher than the state, and a significant 23 points higher than the national. Interestingly, CK math scores were six points lower than the state average but 7 points higher than the national.

She said that in both verbal and math, scores fluctuate only slightly from year to year.

l APt results for 2002: Students who earn scores of 3 or above on the 5-point AP scale are generally awarded college credit or advanced entry into college courses. In CK, 69 percent of tests scored 3 or above. Last year it was 72 percent.

“Given the importance of rigorous courses in student preparation for college and the world of work,” she said. “The AP program is designed to allow students to take college-level courses while they are still in high school. These courses are taught by high school teachers who follow curriculum guides established by college faculty through the College Board Advanced Placement program.... We’re trying to get as many kids to take these courses as possible.”

AP classes are surprisingly popular. During the 2001-2002 school year, there were 1,035 students enrolled in CK Advanced Placement classes. This represents a 2 percent increase in enrollment over last school year, a 77 percent increase since 1996-97, and a 255 percent increase since 1991-92.

AP tests model college finals. The exams include both multiple choice and essay problems, and are scored by teachers and college professors from across the country.

During 2001-2002, 500 CK students took 897 AP exams, an increase of 312 exams taken since 1997-98 — this despite AP tests are not school funded, but cost about $80 each.

“it is interesting to note that although CK school district students account for about 1.5 percent of the state population of students grades 10-12, they take about 4 percent of the AP tests in Washington. In 2002, CKSD students took 19 percent of the advanced computer science tests, 28 percent of the physics ‘C’ test, electricity and magnetism tests, and 6 percent of AP calculus exams in the state,” she said.

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