SAT scores onemeasure ofpreparedness

There is a lot of good to be gleaned from the recently released Scholastic Aptitude Test scores in Sampson County, not the least of which is that those taking the test are being well prepared for the next educational level.

The 2015 scores show that high school students taking the test either surpassed or were within a couple hundred points of the state and national averages and, in all but one case, pushed ahead of those in Sampson who took the test in 2014.

The numbers are a clear indication that both Sampson County and Clinton City schools are doing something right, even though Clinton High’s scores dropped slightly from 2014 to 2015. That something right could be viewed in the number of students that took the test, the prep work done to assist students in getting ready for it and the focus lessons took in getting the test-takers prepared.

The scores also reflect a lot of hard work on the part of educators and students.

According to the College Board, Sampson Early College had the highest average score in 2015 among the county’s high schools with an average 1557, higher than both the state and national averages, at 1478 and 1490, respectively. Midway High had the next highest average at 1428 followed by Hobbton at 1350, Union High at 1310, Clinton High at 1297 and Lakewood at 1225.

In Sampson schools, the number of test takers declined, from 246 to 216, while at Clinton High the test takers grew by one, from 112 to 113.

Each is a factor in the final testing outcome and should be considered when comparing one year’s data to the next. Just as importantly, one must remember that when looking at SAT scores you aren’t comparing apples to apples or following a group of students from one grade to the next.

And those things matter in the scheme of things. It is a fact that should not overshadow the average scores for 2015 or diminish the hard work that paid off in those numbers.

Having said that, however, one must look at the SAT results with an open mind, understanding that the test, as with any, is only one measure of students’ educational abilities.

One, for example, should not look at Clinton High’s SAT drop this year as a blemish on its academic record nor should it be a gauge of how prepared all the school’s college-bound students really are. Instead it should be looked upon as one measure in the educational arsenal, coupled with ACT results, report cards and a students abilities in the classroom.

Not all students are test-takers, especially on exams like the very tricky SAT. But that doesn’t mean that students don’t have the academic chops to make it at the college level.

That is why it’s always important to look at the SAT results as only one measure, and not the say all and mean all about academic performance.

Again, that should not diminish the great results we are seeing in the high schools. The averages speak volumes about what the students taking the test have been taught and how well they have retained it.

If one walks the halls of any of our high schools and listens to what is happening in classrooms, it would be easy to see that learning is taking place, critical thinking is being urged and students are being prepared to enter whatever realm they choose as their next step.

Is there academic work to be done? Certainly. Real educators never accept where they are as the best; they are always striving to have their students do better. Are our high school students capable of competing academically at the college level? Without question. SAT scores are one measure of that readiness. And that is the point.