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

Published 11:45 am 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.”