‘Some errors in data’ on SAT scores
By Brandon Park
Despite reports of declining SAT scores over the past three years, Morgan County School officials say there is no need to worry.
Dr. Ralph Bennett, in a report presented to the Board of Education Monday night, suggested that a cautious approach needed to be taken when analyzing a school's average SAT score because errors in reporting data, the distinction between first time test takers and multiple-time test takers a school's other criteria for college admissions are not factored into a school's average SAT score.
"We are not happy with low SAT scores, but there are some errors in the data," Bennett said.
"That may not account for a large difference in the end as far as the scores, but I think it does point to some problems with accuracy in the report and that is always a problem with standardized testing.
Looking at standardized test scores, we want our scores to be high and we want to continue to work on that, but you have to look at the total picture of what is going on in the school."
Bennett reported that some students included in Morgan County's average score were not enrolled at MCHS, and some students that were enrolled at MCHS were not included in the data.
It was pointed out that MCHS's average SAT score is calculated by combining the highest score of multiple test takers and the score of first time test takers, which can lead to a low overall average.
"A distinction between first time test takers and multiple time test takers needs to be made." Superintendent Stan DeJarnett said.
"The SAT's matter to us in terms of our students getting into college," MCHS Principal Mark Wilson said. "Our primary focus is a students highest score, the student's best score in math, best score in verbal, best score in critical writing. Those are the things that matter the most to us because those are the things that help kids get into college."
Bennett added that colleges look at a lot of other things for an individual students as far as admissions. "Right now, we don't see that SAT scores, not to say that we are happy with the scores, but we don't see the SAT scores effecting students admissions into the college of their choices." he said.
"It has always been difficult for me to reconcile the other indicators that our school system has for success with our SAT performance because those trends are not compatible," DeJarnett said.
"Rigorous course work and a good, balanced curriculum is one of the things colleges look at first, rather than a one shot, one sitting examination.
They look at that as part of the students total profile. I don't think our schools average is hurting anyone’s chances of getting into college, because A, they are not designed to be reported that way, and B, colleges don't look at the school's average SAT scores, they look at the students best performance on the test, even if it is the combination of two or three different sittings."
DeJarnett added that officials will be implementing some things the SAT study commission recommended to advise and guide students through the SAT preparation process.
In other news, Bob Monk reported that after school transportation will begin September 23 for elementary, middle and primary school students. Sarah Burbach reported that total student enrollment is at 3,288.
DeJarnett reported that all schools in the Morgan County school system made AYP and Morgan County Elementary and Morgan County Primary schools were once again named 2008 Title 1 Distinguished Schools.
DeJarnett also announced that DeKalb Tech Workforce Development classes will be offered at the CrossRoads school on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings beginning in two weeks.
In other business, the board unanimously approved three rows of lower bleachers in the "classic gym" as surplus.
The bleachers will be removed and discarded to allow room for the construction of a storage unit that will house the mats used for cheerleading practice.
The storage unit will be constructed by the construction class.