School cheers shining SAT scores
College entrance SAT scores are out and the Indiana high school class of 2008 did about the same as the class of 2007. However students from North Putnam High School scored above the state average in all categories of the test and above the national average in all areas except for the writing component.
According to Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Suellen Reed in a recent report most of the scores for Indiana Schools for the 2008 test were flat, both statewide and nationally.
Indiana showed a one-point gain in math, a one-point loss in reading and a two-point drop in writing. North Putnam scores showed a 41-point gain in reading, a 19-point gain in math and a 16-point gain in writing, for a total increase of 76 points over last year's scores.
North Putnam's total score was 18 points above the nation and 44 points above the Indiana totals.
"It is safe to say this year's results are a reflection of an extremely talented group of students. Comparing SAT scores from year-to-year doesn't always tell us much because each class is different. However, the gains we made over last year's scores are an indication that some of the things we are dong corporation-wide are beginning to pay off," commented NPHS Principal Alan Zerkel.
North Putnam Community Schools Superintendent Murray Pride believes some of the programs put in place by the school system are working.
"Our writing-across-the-curriculum and the silent-sustained-reading programs are beginning to make a difference. The improved scores are a tribute to everyone who had a hand in preparing these students for the future," said Murray.
Indiana's average scores on the college entrance exam showed a one-point gain in math (508), a two-point drop in writing (481), and a one-point drop in reading (496) making the combined average score 1485. This is a one-point increase from last year's scores and 26 points behind the national average SAT scores of 1511. North Putnam had a total score of 1529.
According to the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE), 62 percent of Indiana students take the SAT every year. The national percentage of students taking the SAT is only 42 percent.
Reed believes Indiana scores will improve in the next two years because the students in the 2007 freshman class will be the first who are required to graduate with the more rigorous core - 40 degree.
Reed also points out that only 45 percent of seniors nationwide took the SAT last year compared with 62 percent in Indiana and typically average scores drop when more kids are tested.
The number of students from NPHS taking the SAT's is about 50-60 percent according to Zerkel.
"Students s are better understating the courses they need to take to get into college and that puts a greater emphasis on being prepared to take the SAT's," he added.
The essay part of the SAT's was added a few years ago. Since that time Zerkel believes he is seeing an improvement with NPHS students on the part of the test.
"Colleges are putting more and more emphasis on SAT's and I think students are realizing the more difficult courses they take in the Core 40 and Honors program, the better prepared they are," said Zerkel.
IDOE offers programs that assist teachers in documenting the progress of their students, and requiring that all high school students achieve the minimum of the Core 40 diploma.
"Indiana has made this a priority by requiring our rigorous Core 40 curriculum for all students, paying PSAT fees for all 10th graders, providing students customized SAT study plans and offering workshops to help educators analyze their students' test results," said Reed in a recent press release.
The state's Core 40 curriculum became a graduation requirement for all incoming high school freshmen beginning in fall 2007. The legislation also made Core 40 a minimum college admission requirement for the state's public four-year universities beginning in fall 2011. Additionally, students must complete the Core 40 track to be eligible for higher education awards and scholarships.
National studies have shown that completing a rigorous course of academic study in high school is the best preparation for college and workforce success. Since Core 40 was established in 1994, the number of Indiana students completing the curriculum has continued to increase. More than 70 percent of Indiana's graduating students earned a Core 40 or Academic Honors Diploma last year.
For more information about SAT scores in Indiana visit the IDOE Web site at www.doe.in.gov./SAT or www.collegeboard.com. To congratulate NPHS on their high scores call the high school at 765-522-6282 or the Superintendent's office at 765-522-6218.