Albemarle County Public Schools graduates once again turned in strong performances on the College Board’s Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), with 2018 scores surpassing both state and national averages on the reading, writing and mathematics tests and on the Board’s college readiness benchmark.
The average reading and writing score for school division graduates was 592, which was 29 points higher than their state peers and 63 points better than the national pool. In mathematics, local students earned a 583, which exceeded state and national scores by 36 and 63 points respectively. The combined average in Albemarle County for the tests was 1175, compared to 1110 in Virginia and 1049 across the nation.
Participation rates for local graduates also topped the state rate. Nearly three out of four graduates in the school division, 73.4 percent, took the SATs, compared to a participation rate of 65 percent across Virginia.
The College Board also provides a college readiness score, derived from the SAT results. Students who meet this benchmark, the Board says, have a 65 percent likelihood of achieving a grade point average of B or higher during their first year of college.
Two out of three Albemarle County Public Schools students met this benchmark. This was 13 percent higher than the college readiness score for all students in Virginia and 23 points above the national score.
“This outstanding performance by our graduating seniors is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our students and to the expertise of our teachers and administrators,” said Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Matthew Haas. “It reaffirms the importance and validity of our contemporary instructional model that values the development of applied knowledge and skills. We want to foster a curriculum that encourages students to be creative, passionate about their courses, and work effectively in teams and solve problems,” Dr. Haas said.
The result, he added, is deeper, more authentic learning based upon experience rather than memorization. The approach, Dr. Haas added, is consistent with Profile of a Virginia Graduate, the state’s new high school graduation requirement. He also noted that the SATs have been evolving in recent years to place a greater emphasis on critical thinking skills and content relevant to what today’s graduates need to know in order to succeed in college and careers.
The SAT results align with those from a national educational assessment organization, Niche, which earlier this year, ranked Albemarle County Public Schools among the top two percent of all school divisions across the country. The division received its highest individual score for the quality of its college prep.
Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, its membership is comprised of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. It annually serves more than seven million students in preparing them for a successful transition to college, and it conducts research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools.
The international executive search firm, Korn Ferry, recently reported that starting salaries for the most recent college graduates are higher than ever before. A Georgetown University study found that college graduates earn $1 million more than high school graduates over the course of their careers with an annual difference in average income of $17,500. According to recent statistics, the unemployment rate of college graduates is 2.8 percent, compared to 5.4 percent for high school graduates and 8.0 percent for those without a high school diploma.