Western Tidewater SAT scores lower than state, national average

Published 11:42 am Saturday, September 17, 2011

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

The 53 students who took the college-entrance exam from Windsor High School did better than Southampton and Franklin, scoring an average combined 1,439 on math, reading and writing, according to the Virginia Department of Education.

At Southampton High School, the 101 students who took the SATs scored an average of 1,311, while at Franklin High School, the 47 test-takers had an average of 1,230.

Public school students across Virginia scored an average of 1,508 and across the nation of 1,483. With private and home-school students included, Virginia students’ average increased to 1,616.

Dr. Tim Kelly, assistant superintendent for Southampton County Public Schools, said he was surprised at the results.

“From my viewpoint, our students academically rank as well as any student anywhere,” Kelly said. “I’m quite proud of how well they performed in college.”

He said the school supports as many students as possible taking the SATs, although many aren’t sure about attending college.

“Some make the decision late,” Kelly said. “It’s something else we will have to look into to see where we stand and where we can improve.”

In Franklin, a free 90-minute course is offered on Mondays after school so students can prepare for the SATs, said Beverly Rabil, associate director of instruction. This year the course starts on Oct. 3; students are provided with transportation.

“This year we are going to focus on more recruitment for the class,” Rabil said. “We are aware that we are below the state average, and we will continue to evaluate and put steps in place to improve.”

In speaking about Windsor, Isle of Wight County schools plan to work on improving student performance on SATs, said Superintendent Katrise Perera.

“There is also a greater, larger issue and that is a pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade area that needs addressed,” Perera said. “We’re looking across the board at improving student achievement.”

The SAT includes reading, math and writing portions, for which students can receive a possible 800 points each.

Private schools do not report SAT results to the state. When reached by The Tidewater News, Tidewater Academy did not want to release results.

“We don’t share SAT scores,” said Academic Dean Gayle Westbrook. “We don’t ever publish those other than for a parent or student.”

Southampton and Isle of Wight academies did not return phone calls.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy students who took the test averaged a 1,735.