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Williamsburg-James City County students who took the SAT last year continued the school division’s trend of surpassing state and national averages, scoring higher in critical reading than in previous years.
Data from the College Board indicates WJCC high schoolers who took the SAT during the 2014-2015 school year averaged 537 points on the critical reading section, 530 points on the math section and 511 points on the writing section.
These scores are all more than 10 points higher than state and national averages, including a difference of 42 points between the WJCC critical reading score and the national average.
In 2012-2013 and in 2013-2014, the WJCC critical reading average was 532 points while the state average climbed steadily from 512 to 515 points, then to 518 points last year.
Scott Thorpe, director of assessments, accountability and special programs for WJCC, said the school division has deliberately enhanced the curriculum by adding critical thinking and innovative problem-solving opportunities.
“We feel like these efforts are directly correlated with the overall gains we’re seeing and the fact that we’re outpacing many on the Peninsula and certainly in the state,” Thorpe said.
While all three high schools saw gains of four points or more in the critical reading section, Jamestown and Lafayette saw both increases in writing scores and decreases in math scores.
Jamestown scored 11 points higher in writing but five points lower in math on average, while Lafayette scored 12 points higher in reading but one point lower in math on average compared to the 2013-2014 school year. Warhill scored four points higher in math and three points lower in writing.
“That’s given us a real opportunity to take a look at our offerings there and see how we can be more rigorous and also provide more support for our SAT takers,” Thorpe said. “There is a trend there that has our attention.”
Melissa Bentley, coordinator of the WJCC accountability and assessments division, added that although math scores were lower last school year on the SAT, scores in math on the Standards of Learning assessments were higher.
To improve scores in the 2015-2016 school year, Thorpe said the school division will ensure all courses are rigorous enough to effectively prepare students for assessments.