SAT Scores Down In '11, Still Well Above Average
Critical reading test scores seen as a main area of concern.
The Lynnfield School District saw a moderate drop in SAT scores last academic year, although the results remain far above the state and national average.
At Tuesday night’s school committee meeting, officials identified critical reading scores as the biggest area of concern for 2011. Lynnfield students scored an average of 510 on critical reading, compared to 530 in 2010 and 539 in 2009. This was the only SAT category where Lynnfield scored below the state average, which was 513 this year. Meanwhile, the national average score for critical reading was 497.
In the math category, Lynnfield had an average score of 545, down from 567 last year and 571 in 2009. The state average this year was 527, and the national average, 514.
The trend for this year was similar in the SAT writing scores. Lynnfield students scored an average of 521, down from 534 in 2010 and 551 in 2009. This year’s state average was 509 and the national average was 489.
“We’re still looking at scores that are pretty strong compared to state and national averages,” noted LHS Principal Robert Cleary at the school committee meeting. Joining Cleary to discuss the results at the meting was the head of the LHS Guidance Department, Mike Moresco, who noted that the various school departments have found themselves under more pressure to get through course material by the end of the school year in compliance with state mandates.
Cleary also observed that there could be a number of variables at work in determining the scoring trend. “Nothing has really changed in what we do over the last six years,” he said.
For the advanced placement (AP) testing, Lynnfield students remained far above the national average in almost every subject, although many of those scores were also somewhat lower than they were a year or two ago and Cleary acknowledged some “blips on the radar” to watch in this area. “The AP performance at this school has been historically just off the charts,” said committee member James Fagan.
Another trend observed at the meeting was the growing popularity of the ACT, which was taken by about half of the LHS class of ’11 and which is now reportedly the most popular standardized test in the nation. Moresco explained that students may be inclined to find this test less intimidating than the SAT, which allows them to go into it more relaxed and therefore inclined toward better test-taking. The ACT is also said to focus on more subjects.