By SARAH DOOLITTLE, Four Points News
For the second year in a row, students from Vandegrift High School have produced average SAT scores that are higher than average scores in the United States, Texas or other Leander ISD schools.
Furthermore, a greater percentage of VHS students took the SAT, with 82 percent of the Class of 2013 participating versus 67 percent of LISD students. The average VHS student’s SAT score was a total of 1656 out of 2400. The national average is 1484 and LISD students post an average of 1579.
District-wide, scores on the SAT increased by 30 points from the class of 2012 to 2013 even though nationally, average scores dropped by three points.
VHS students also took the ACT in higher numbers and produced higher scores. Fifty-two percent of Vandegrift students sat for the ACT versus 39 percent of LISD students.
The average ACT score for VHS students? A 25 out of 36. LISD students are a close second at 23.9 and national scores average 20.9.
In a press release from LISD, Superintendent Bret Champion explained that, “More LISD students are taking the SAT and our scores are rising. That tells us that students understand the important role these tests fill in the entire process of becoming college-ready.”
At the same time Champion recognizes that, while these test scores measure success in college-readiness, “The true objective for LISD is for our students to be self-directed learners and to raise the bar for themselves so that they can achieve their goals in whatever career paths they choose.”
Throughout the school district, 8th-graders take the ReadiStep, a new program paid for by the Hill Country Education Foundation. All freshman through junior students take the PSAT, also free of charge for students. These exams, produced by the College Board (makers of the SAT) are meant to provide practice as well as exposure to college entrance exams.
Recent and current senior classes, however, did not have access to ReadiStep.
Olson Kelly, presently a senior at VHS, was glad to be able to take the PSAT as an underclassman. “Taking the PSAT in 9th and 10th grade really helped us to be able to get to know and understand the test. VHS also helped us by allowing teachers to gear curriculum toward the tests.” He noted especially that teachers were able to do so without compromising their lesson plans.
Christa Thompson-Martin, Dean of Instruction at VHS, recognizes the value of test preparation programs at the school, but also attributes students’ success to their drive. “Our data continues to go up and up. These kids are competitive. They come ready to be taught and ready to learn. They are hard workers.”
More information on college readiness and access to free preparation resources, including PSAT and SAT practice materials, can be found on the district’s website, www.leanderisd.org.