Wilton’s average SAT scores slightly decline
Despite a slight drop in mean scores, Wilton High School students scored very well on the 2015 SATs, the results of which were presented at the Board of Education’s Sept. 10 meeting.
The SATs are administered by the College Board and used by colleges across the country in their admissions process.
The SAT tests students in the areas of critical reading, math and writing, and Wilton saw small decreases in all three.
Of a possible perfect score of 800 on each of the three sections, Wilton students averaged:
- Reading: 591 (a two-point decrease from last year).
- Writing: 594 (an 11-point decrease from last year).
- Math: 596 (a one-point decrease from last year).
Decreasing scores didn’t just occur in Wilton, but in its district reference group and across the state.
Wilton did well compared to other schools in its district reference group, DRG-A, which classifies Connecticut school districts by socioeconomic status.
The other DRG-A schools include Darien, New Canaan, Region 9 (Joel Barlow High School), Ridgefield, Westport and Weston.
In critical reading, Wilton placed second in the DRG-A, right behind Darien, which had an average score of 598. Wilton was first in critical reading last year.
Wilton also ranked second in the DRG-A in writing — again behind Darien, which had an average score of 602.
Wilton’s DRG-A math rank also dropped this year, falling behind Darien (611), New Canaan (609) and Weston (604). Last year, Wilton ranked third behind Darien and Weston.
The average scores in the DRG-A were:
- Reading: 582.
- Writing: 587.
- Math: 594.
In terms of composite scores — combination of average reading, writing and math scores — Darien was No. 1 at 1,811, followed by New Canaan and Weston, which both had average composite scores of 1,785. Wilton placed fourth, with a composite score of 1,781 — a 14-point slip from last year.
College Board will administer a new SAT in March 2016 with the following changes:
- An all-new essay that’s optional.
- No penalty for guessing.
- No outdated vocabulary.
Despite the changes, according to College Board’s website, the following aspects of the SAT will remain the same:
- It’s accepted by almost all U.S. colleges.
- It’s typically taken by juniors in the spring and seniors in the fall.
- Used with high school GPA, SAT scores are “a powerful combination” in “predicting potential college success.”
The SAT will include four parts — reading, writing and language, math and the optional SAT Essay — scored on a 400-1600 scale. There will be four answer choices for each multiple choice question.
Students will be given three hours to complete the exam and those who choose to do the new SAT Essay will be given an additional 50 minutes.
Although “it hasn’t been approved by the state Board of Education,” Assistant Superintendent Chuck Smith said during the board’s Sept. 10 meeting there is a good chance the SAT will be aligned with the Common Core state standards this spring.
This could pose a problem for Wilton High School, whose district only began transitioning to Common Core in 2013 and had the DRG-A’s lowest Standard Balance Achievement Consortium (SBAC) achievement level this year.
Because of its slow transition to Common Core, the district could potentially see a drop in relative SAT performance, according to Smith, adding that “many students are being advised to take the ACT instead” of the SAT or take the SAT before it changes in the spring.
Wilton High School Principal Robert O’Donnell said he has heard similar talk around the high school.
“I’ve heard discussion among our school counselors with the students that there’s a transition,” said O’Donnell, “and that the SAT is going to be in flux and in transition and they may want to consider the ACT.”
In Connecticut, another change is that the SAT will replace the 11th grade SBAC exam beginning this school year. This comes after the U.S. Department of Education approved Gov. Dannel Malloy’s waiver request last month to “reduce the amount of standardized testing required for public high school students.”
Not only will the SAT replace the 11th grad SBAC, but it will also be free for all Connecticut students. The test typically costs more than $50, according to the governor’s Aug. 6 press release.
Wilton’s scores were significantly higher than the state averages, which slipped from a composite score of 1,525 in 2014 to 1,514 this year.
According to the 2015 College Board Program results, released Thursday, Sept. 3, 36,445, or 89.3%, of Connecticut students from the 2015 graduating class took the SAT — a slight increase from the 36,370 students in the 2014 graduating class.
Nationwide, a record 1.7 million students from the class of 2015 took the SAT, and 41.9% of them met the SAT college and career readiness benchmark.
According to College Board, “high school graduates who reach the benchmark are more likely to enroll in a four-year college and graduate on time than those who do not meet the benchmark.”
In Connecticut, 17,067, 46.8%, of SAT test-takers from the 2015 class met the benchmark.
By gender, boys taking the SAT had a mean score of 520 in math, 505 in reading and 496 in writing. Girls had a mean score of 492 in math, 503 in reading and 511 in writing.
Scores of students in schools classified as independent were significantly higher than those in religious or public schools.
Independent school students had a mean score of 581 in math, 571 in reading and 571 in writing.
Religiously affiliated school students had a mean score of 536 in math, 532 in reading and 532 in writing.
Public school students had a mean score of 495 in math, 494 in reading and 494 in writing.
There was a wide disparity of scores relating to family income. The statistic show that as family income rises, so do the mean scores.
Students coming from families earning $20,000 or less had a mean score of 417 in math, 424 in reading and 423 in writing. These students made up 8% of those taking the SAT.
By contrast, students coming from families earning more than $200,000 — 14% of those taking the test — had mean scores of 591 in math, 579 in reading and 581 in writing.
The level of parental education also showed a disparity of scores. Students whose parents had only a high school diploma accounted for 28% of those taking the test, as did students whose parents had earned a graduate degree.
The students whose parents had a high school diploma had mean scores of 456 in math, 459 in reading and 459 in writing.
The students whose parents had a graduate degree had mean scores of 573 in math, 570 in reading and 570 in writing.
Click here to learn more about the new SAT.