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Windsor, Southampton, Franklin SAT scores lower than state, nation

Published 11:45am Thursday, October 4, 2012

RICHMOND—This year’s scores for SAT tests taken by students from Western Tidewater’s three public high schools were lower than state and national averages.

The 64 students who took the college-entrance exam from Windsor High School did better than Southampton and Franklin, scoring an average combined 1,393 on math, reading and writing, according to the Virginia Department of Education. In 2011, Windsor students scored 1,439.

At Southampton High School, the 112 students who took the SATs scored an average of 1,237, down from 1,311 one year earlier, while at Franklin High School, the 46 test-takers had an average of 1,254, up from 1,230 in 2011.

Public school students across Virginia scored an average of 1,510 for 2012 and across the nation 1,477.

“We as a school are very concerned about the academic progress of our students as compared to their peers in the community, the state and the nation,” said new Windsor High School Principal Daniel Soderholm. “I have developed a plan to increase literacy and help students become better prepared for all types of aptitude tests to make them top candidates for the colleges and careers of their choice.”

Soderholm has taken on the challenge to improve SAT scores. Guidance counselors and teachers have promoted opportunities for SAT prep courses at Tidewater and Paul D. Camp community colleges. One English teacher is volunteering her Saturdays to offer a free SAT prep course for Windsor students.

“We expect to see great results from this,” he said. “Teachers have also been encouraged to embed more vocabulary and basic skill development in their every day instruction.”

New Southampton Superintendent Dr. Alvera Parrish said the district would offer an after-school SAT prep class.

“We are not where we want to be, but certainly we are working to try to improve that,” Parrish said. “We lost the funding for the four-year class. Now there is a need to address that for our students.”

She noted that math and English teachers would address those areas with students.

“The high school has developed a plan that reflects strategies with more students participating,” Parrish said.

The district also is working with the guidance office to get information to parents so they can have a better understanding of how students need to prepare for the tests.

Franklin always strives to improve its test scores, said Bev Rabil, associate director of instruction.

“We offer the PSAT to 10th-graders at no charge, and we do a SAT prep (course) that is free. It’s taught by our staff,” Rabil said.

Attendance is not mandatory.

As for why the SAT scores were lower than the state and nation, she believes it could be due to Franklin having a smaller district.

“I think that plays into it,” Rabil said. “It’s a target we need to keep working on.”




  • shocked

    The SAT scores listed meet most colleges’ requirements. Kudos to area teachers, students, and parents who are taking advantage of the opportunity to receive a free education in a public school! These scores prove- if you want to learn and have support, you can be successful! Evidently, area teachers ARE teaching something to those who choose to attend school!!

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  • momto2Js

    Also what about Smithfield High; they’re part of Western Tidewater too. Guess the reporter can’t count.

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  • momto2Js

    Those scores are not bad. So they are a little lower. It’s not that big of a deal. The TN just needs to find something wrong even when it doesn’t exist. I’m sure all of the students got into college with those scores.

    So tired of our students being reduced to a number on a test. They are people for crying out loud not a number!

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  • BlondeStranger

    She actually believes that the size of the school district is what is driving the poor performance of the students? I say that’s a bunch of hogwash!

    VA Beach City is the 2nd largest school district in the state, but I’ll bet they aren’t in the top 15 or 20 in terms of performance. This district is about 50% larger than the school district in Loudoun County. But, I’ll bet you that the students in Loudoun way outperformed the students in VA Beach City. By the same token, Fairfax’s school district is about 3 times the size of Loudoun’s, and I’ll bet that the scores between those two districts are somewhat comparable. I’ve googled around to see if I could find the scores for these districts, but haven’t had any luck, yet.

    There is little doubt in my mind that there is a far stronger correlation between income per capita in a school district and the SAT scores than between the size of the district and the scores. Better yet, I’ll bet the correlation is even stronger between average property value and the scores, as this is what dictates the tax base for school funding, which drives resources.

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    • DBenton

      You may want to do more research. Yes, local education resources are somewhat dictated by property values and the commensurate local tax base. However, the State of VA uses a calculation called the “composite index” in an effort to help level the playing field between localities across the state. Application of the composite index means that localities are compared to one another in terms of their local “ability to pay” for public education. Bottom line is that Fairfax is forced to pick up much more of costs associated with local education than we must cover here in Franklin. This gets you to a “minimum standard” in each and every locality across the State. After that, if a locality wants to put up more local money for niceties, they can certainly do so. But, that same option to go “over and above” is available to every locale in the State, and only falls to Fairfax AFTER they have been required to first put up more of the “basic” costs to educate every student in their district.

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  • employee2

    I see they have changed the scoring since I took the SAT’s. A 1600 used to be a perfect score, now it is 2400. I thought the scores seemed high to be complaining about.

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    • SandMan

      @employee2: I scored 1140 “back in the day”. How about you?

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  • 1stAmendment

    You are exactly correct. The skills for critical thinking are not being taught – how many of our top high school students who went to college do you know who come home the first semester never to return?

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    • curious

      An old saying seems to apply here. “Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day. Teach the man to fish and he can eat for a lifetime” By concentrating so heavily on “standardized” tests, the reasoning/method behind finding the answer, or solving the problem gets lost. All children do not learn in the same way, and some just do not care to learn. jmho.

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  • ybrozzo

    I have always felt students are taught to pass the SOL testing. Now when they are given a diffrent test, the SAT’s, they are not prepared. We should focus on educating our children and that will give them the skills to pass any test.

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    • Love2Teach

      That’s exactly right!!!! While we are at it let’s stop giving kids calculators and make them learn their math facts like I did when I was in school!!!!

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