According to the College Board, the not-for-profit organization that administers the SAT tests, the average scores of the T. C. Williams High School class of 2008 increased over scores reported in 2007.
The SAT measures students’ skills in reading, mathematics and writing. SAT scores in each of the exam’s three sections range from 200 to 800. The 402 T. C. test takers, up from 398 in 2007, scored on average 496, a six-point increase in reading; 493, a two-point increase in mathematics; and 493, a 12-point increase in writing. These average scores were six to 19 points lower than the state average scores and one to 22 points lower than the national averages.
Since 2004, T. C. reading scores have increased by 13 points, while Virginia’s have decreased by four points, and the nation’s has decreased by six points. The T. C. average math scores have increased by 19 points over the last five years, while the state’s average math scores have increased by three points, and the nation’s average scores have decreased by three points. Only three years of data exist for the writing test; T. C. writing scores decreased by 16, Virginia’s declined by one, and the nation’s decreased by three points.
“We are pleased to see continued progress in areas such as the total scores and the level of participation. Yet, as we set goals for future classes, we believe that we still have lots of room for improvement. This year’s scores show that a good foundation has been built,” said Dr. Morton Sherman, ACPS Superintendent of Schools.
The percentage of T. C. minority test-takers is 68 percent, up from 66 percent in 2007, as compared with Virginia’s 39 percent and the nation’s 43 percent. Test-takers were asked to provide information about household income, highest level of parental education and the language most often spoken in their homes. In 2008, 25 percent of the T. C. test-takers said they were from families with incomes below $30,000. Thirteen percent of all test-takers in Virginia and 18 percent of test-takers nationally reported family incomes in this bracket. The percentage of T. C. students from families with incomes greater than $100,000 increased from 26 percent in 2007 to 28 percent in 2008, which is slightly lower than Virginia’s 36 percent and the nation’s 30 percent. Fifteen percent of this year’s T. C. test-takers reported speaking a language other than English, far higher than Virginia’s five percent or the nation’s nine percent. Only 66 percent of T. C. students reported English as their first language, compared with 85 percent for Virginia and 76 percent for the nation. Thirty-six percent of students reported the highest level of parental education in their home to be high school or an associate’s degree.
There were 102 T. C. seniors who also took one or more of the SAT subject tests; 43 percent of these students took two subject tests, and 42 percent took three or more subject tests. This group represented 25 percent of the total number of students who took the test at T. C. Williams, an increase of seven percent from the previous year. In Virginia, only 16 percent of all SAT test-takers took subject tests, and nationally, only 19 percent of all test-takers took one or more subject test. The subject tests are a series of one-hour, mostly multiple-choice tests that measure how much a student knows about a particular academic subject and how well the student can apply that knowledge. Average scores for SAT subject test-takers at T. C. were 625 in reading, 611 in mathematics and 618 in writing.
Overall, the percentage of T. C. test-takers scoring at or above 600 is 24 percent on the reading test, 22 percent on the math test and 22 on the writing test. The average grade point average of all T. C. test-takers was 3.16, in Virginia 3.26 and in the nation 3.31.
Students who take the SAT test can request that the College Board send their scores directly to up to three universities at no additional cost. The top three schools most requested by T. C. students were: Virginia Commonwealth University, 35 percent; George Mason University, 32 percent; and University of Virginia, 32 percent.
The current version of the SAT test was first administered in 2005. Changes include shorter reading passages, new math content, a new student-written essay and elimination of analogies and quantitative comparisons. Two different professional readers with experience teaching high school or college English read, scored and reported each student’s essay.
For a complete analysis of the 2008 T. C. Williams SAT results, click here.