Wilton SAT scores remain high, among the best in state

Once again, when in need of finding good young writers, the answer is Wilton High School.

Last year’s seniors showed strong results for the Class of 2013 SAT testing, and the district demonstrated some of the highest scores in the region.

Overall, Darien was the big winner, with an average score of 1814, but Wilton was second with a score of 1799. Wilton had the highest score in writing, and finished tied for second in critical reading, but finished fourth in math among the seven districts that make up DRG A (District Reference Group). The average for the group was 1776.

Weston’s composite score was 1792, Westport (Staples High School) scored 1788, New Canaan was fifth at 1774, Ridgefield had a total of 1759, and Region 9 (Easton and Redding) finished with 1703.

Each element of the SAT can receive a maximum score of 800, with a possible perfect total score of 2400.

“We are very pleased with the performance of Wilton students on the SAT this past year,” Assistant Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Smith said. “The scores were outstanding.

“Wilton had the second-highest reading average in the state, the highest writing average in the state, and the fourth-highest mathematics average in the state,” he said.

Wilton had 300 students take the SAT, and finished with average scores of 589 in critical reading, 602 in math, and 608 in writing. Darien had the top score in both critical reading and math. Weston and Westport were both ahead of Wilton in math.

Overall, statewide participation in the SAT was up, with 83% of students taking the college entrance exam. Only Delaware, Idaho, and Maine had more students take the SAT.

In a year-over-year comparison, the state’s scores remained relatively flat, with 499 in reading, 503 in math, and 504 in writing. The 2012 scores were 498 for reading, 504 for math, and 502 for writing.

Each number for this year was higher than the national average.

“We’re pleased that more Connecticut public school students took the SAT this year than last year,” said state Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor in a statement. “Higher participation rates on college entrance exams mean that more Connecticut public high school graduates are aiming for college, which is one of our state’s key goals.

“We must enable our students not only to compete for admission but also to compete with confidence, advancing into their careers with the skills that the information age and the knowledge economy require.”

Connecticut’s scores are also higher than they were in 2003, when the standard test was only in reading and math. Scores are up two points in reading, and four in math.

Wilton’s year-over-year scores revealed a drop in critical reading, down seven points, but math improved by four, and writing remained the same.

Steady scores

Composite scores since 2009 for Wilton have generally increased, though they dropped from 1785 to 1768 in 2010. The total ballooned to 1805 in 2011, before slipping slightly to 1802 last year. Individual scores have been on a similar roller coaster, with reading and math both topping out in 2011, and a tie for the top score in writing staying put over 2012 and 2013.

“The five-year SAT averages for the district in reading, writing, and mathematics are solid, boasting an impressive 589 in reading, 603 in writing, and 600 in mathematics,” Dr. Smith said. “These averages clearly reflect the strength of our students’ performance on the SAT over time, as well as a rigorous academic curriculum that prepares students to be successful on this assessment.”

The SAT is administered by the College Board, which established a benchmark for college readiness. The benchmark score of 1550 “is associated with a 65 percent probability of obtaining a first-year GPA of B- or higher, which in turn is associated with a high likelihood of college success,” the College Board said.

Beyond that, the organization said, students surpassing the benchmark are more likely to enroll in a four-year college and complete their degree. The College Board indicated that 43% of 2013 students met the benchmark. That number has remained almost unchanged for five years.

“While some might see stagnant scores as no news, we at the College Board consider it a call to action,” said College Board President David Coleman. “We must dramatically increase the number of students in K–12 who are prepared for college and careers.

“Only by transforming the daily work that students do can we achieve excellence and equity. The College Board will do everything it can to make sure students have access to opportunity, including rigorous course work.”

Around Wilton, those largely “stagnant” scores are considered to be good news, and continue to be strong enough to make Wilton High School one of the best in the region.