Students in a majority of Harford County public high schools exceeded new national benchmarks for proficiency in math and critical reading on the 2012 SAT, but nearly all schools fell short in writing skills. C. Milton Wright was the only high school to meet proficiency benchmarks in all three tested areas and the only one among ten Harford high schools to meet a new SAT benchmark for college readiness.
Used for decades as a measure of college readiness for individual students, the SAT is a national exam developed by the College Board to evaluate student skills in critical reading, math and writing. Colleges often consider SAT scores an essential component of admissions decisions. But how do the SAT scores earned by high school students relate to their success once in college?
The answer matters to students, who often need to take remedial courses once they are college enrolled, and to their parents – who often foot the bill. The answer is also of interest to educators and policy makers striving to improve college and career readiness for groups of students. To serve the latter group, the College Board has developed the new SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmarks as indicators of expected college performance and success after high school.
SAT scores in each of the three tested areas are calculated on a 200 – 800 point scale for a possible total score of 2400. For each of the three sections, a benchmark score of 500 is considered an indication of student proficiency in those subjects. The SAT benchmark for college readiness is set slightly higher at a total combined SAT score of 1550, indicating a 65% likelihood of achieving at least a B-minus average (2.67 GPA) during the first year of college, according to research conducted by the College Board.
The College Board cautions that SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmarks are designed exclusively for use by secondary school educators, administrators and policymakers evaluating results for groups of students. It is not intended to determine college readiness for individual students or academic readiness for a specific college. A guide to the new SAT Benchmarks can be found here
Below are the SAT mean scale score results for each of the ten Harford County public high schools from 2010 – 2012, along with overall results for Harford County, the state and the nation.
An earlier press release from Harford County Public Schools on countywide 2012 SAT results can be found here.
Are these the scores of the graduating seniors or the scores when the tests were actually taken. For example, many students take the SATs for the final time their junior year.
Cindy Mumby says
Here are the answers to your questions from the SAT Report prepared by the College Board:
“Data in this report are for high school graduates in the year 2012. Information is summarized for seniors who took the SAT at any time during their high school years through June 2012. If a student took the test more than once, the most recent score is used.”
From what I heard, these scores are from the LAST SAT administration of the year and ONLY the seniors’ scores are used to calculate the mean.
Some things to consider:
-Many of the best and brightest seniors have taken the SAT (a few times) and have begun applying to colleges at this point in the school year. These students’ scores would not be reflected because they did not take the last SAT administration of their senior year; they didn’t need to because they planned ahead and did it earlier.
-Seniors taking the last SAT possible their senior year probably took the test 1 or 2 times before and are taking this final test to boost the score for one section of the test or another. The College Board sends their best scores from each section (from multiple test administrations) to colleges. Therefore, they may not have taken each section quite as seriously as the others when taking this final test. Again, these results are not the best scores for ALL test administrations for the seniors, just the seniors’ scores for the last test offered.
-Finally, seniors who are taking the last SAT offeted their senior year for the FIRST time may also be serious procrastinators who have waited until the last minute to take the test.
I’m not sure either of the last two groups of seniors, under those testing conditions, are the most accurate representation of our schools’ overall SAT performance.
It would be great to see the average of all of the seniors’ BEST scores….not just scores from one test that happens to be the last of their senior year.