Crunching some more numbers from SAT Day

Earlier this week, I reported on the results from Idaho’s April “SAT Day.”

The takeaways: Overall, scores increased slightly on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, but Idaho has a long way to go to meet the SAT “college-ready” benchmark.

Let’s drill down a little deeper into the College Board numbers. The College Board, the nonprofit that administers the SAT, releases voluminous information on any school with more than 10 test-takers. Which lends itself to lists and curiosities.

What you’re looking at are average scores from the 2014 SAT day (Remember, the SAT has three components: reading, math and writing; each phase has a perfect score of 800.)

The highest averages

  1. Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy: 1,818.
  2. Compass Public Charter School: 1,663.
  3. Renaissance High School: 1,626.
  4. Victory Charter School: 1,588.
  5. Xavier Charter School: 1,566.
  6. Idaho Distance Education Academy: 1,564.
  7. Moscow Senior High School: 1,562.
  8. Boise High School: 1,561.
  9. Meridian Technical Charter High School: 1,558.
  10. Kootenai Junior-Senior High School: 1,526.

Footnotes: As I reported Monday, seven of these top-performing schools are charter schools, and with the exception of Renaissance, all are smaller schools that had 46 or fewer juniors taking the test. All Top 10 schools — public schools and charter schools alike — have poverty rates below the state average. Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy posted the state’s top scores on all three phases of the SAT (reading, 625; math, 626; writing, 580).

The lowest averages

  1. Murtaugh High School: 1,000.
  2. New Horizon High School: 1,025.
  3. Canyon Springs High School: 1,039.
  4. Eagle Academy: 1,056.
  5. Project CDA Alternative High School: 1,066.
  6. Magic Valley High School: 1,067.
  7. Meridian Academy: 1,086.
  8. Frank Church High School: 1,099.
  9. Ridgeline High School: 1,102.
  10. Franklin County High School: 1,113.

Footnotes: Nine schools on this list are alternative high schools; the lone exception is Murtaugh. This small Magic Valley district has a small test-taking sample — only 13 juniors took the test in April. Murtaugh is also the state’s fifth poorest district, with more than 80 percent of its students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

The biggest increases

Which schools gained the most ground on the SAT in 2014, compared to 2013?

  1. Kootenai: 1,526 average, up 191 points.
  2. Oakley High School: 1,326 average, up 136 points.
  3. Lakeland High School: 1,480 average, up 129 points.
  4. Declo High School: 1,392 average, up 126 points.
  5. Aberdeen High School: 1,323 average, up 119 points.
  6. Mackay Junior-Senior High School: 1,287 average, up 110 points.
  7. Rimrock Junior-Senior High School: 1,211 average, up 110 points.
  8. Jerome High School: 1,361 average, up 109 points.
  9. Troy Junior-Senior High School: 1,446 average, up 100 points.
  10. Victory: 1,588 average, up 93 points.

Footnotes: To put these gains in perspective, the state’s average was 1,363, up nine points. Again, sample size is important. Six of these big gainers had 31 or fewer juniors take the SAT in April; Kootenai, for example, had only 15 students take the test. A handful of higher scores can make a big difference in a school’s average.

The biggest decreases

  1. Murtaugh: 1,000 average, down 228 points.
  2. North Gem High School: 1,256 average, down 130 points.
  3. Dietrich High School: 1,298 average, down 124 points.
  4. Shoshone High School: 1,175 average, down 112 points.
  5. Eagle Academy: 1,056 average, down 102 points.
  6. Meridian Medical Arts Charter High School: 1,498 average, down 98 points.
  7. Liberty Charter School: 1,473 average, down 97 points.
  8. Idaho City High School: 1,284 average, down 96 points.
  9. IDEA: 1,564 average, down 96 points.
  10. North Valley Academy Charter School: 1,241 average, down 95 points.

Footnotes: Despite the dropoffs, the Meridian Medical Arts and Liberty still beat the state average — and IDEA, a virtual charter school, remained in the state’s Top 10. Once again, small sample sizes make for volatile test scores; none of these schools had more than 37 juniors take the SAT in April.

The most average school in Idaho?

Try Coeur d’Alene’s Lake City High School.

Lake City’s 289 juniors averaged 464 on the reading SAT, 461 on math and 438 on writing. Those averages — and the total score of 1,363 — are identical to the statewide average, posted by 16,579 juniors across Idaho.



Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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