First, the basic SAT numbers.
In April, Idaho’s average SAT score came in at 1,353, down 10 points from 2014.
Students are tested on critical reading, writing and math, a score ranging from 200 to 800; therefore, a perfect score is 2,400. The more pertinent benchmark may be 1,550. According to the College Board, the nonprofit that administers the SAT, students who exceed 1,550 are more likely to adjust to demands of college coursework and obtain a degree.
Now, for a little deeper dive.
Idaho Education News broke down the statewide numbers, released Aug. 14. We’ve identified the highest and lowest school scores, and the largest increases and decreases from 2014.
Highest averages, 2015
As we reported previously, this list is heavy with charter schools; eight of the top 10 schools are charters. The top 10 schools also tend to benefit from a small sample size. Only two schools in the top 10 had more than 60 juniors take the test.
- Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy, Coeur d’Alene: 1,858 average.
- Renaissance High School, Meridian: 1,652 average.
- Sage International School, Boise: 1,618 average.
- Meridian Technical Charter High School, Meridian: 1,609 average.
- Xavier Charter School, Twin Falls: 1,594 average.
- Moscow Senior High School, Moscow: 1,586 average.
- Compass Public Charter School, Meridian: 1,569 average.
- Idaho Distance Education Academy, Post Falls: 1,564 average.
- Thomas Jefferson Charter School, Caldwell: 1,561 average.
- Liberty Charter School, Nampa: 1,548 average.
Lowest scores, 2015
This list is heavy with alternative high schools. Only Lapwai and Plummer-Worley’s Lakeside High School are traditional schools — in two of the poorest districts in the state, according to free and reduced-price lunch eligibility.
- COSSA Academy, Wilder: 929 average.
- Venture High School, Coeur d’Alene: 975 average.
- Lakeside High School, Plummer: 983 average.
- Canyon Springs High School, Caldwell: 992 average.
- The Atlas School, Middleton: 1,029 average.
- New Horizons High School, Pocatello: 1,038 average.
- Lapwai High School, Lapwai: 1,045 average.
- Franklin County High School, Preston: 1,050 average.
- Independence Alternative High School, Blackfoot: 1,064 average.
- Meridian Academy, Meridian: 1,091 average.
The biggest increases, 2014 to 2015
This list is a mixed bag, including the Frank Church alternate high school, four charter high schools and three of Idaho’s four-day high schools.
- Marsing High School, Marsing: 1,414 average, up 116 points.
- Frank Church High School, Boise: 1,197 average, up 99 points.
- Thomas Jefferson Charter School: 1,561 average, up 94 points.
- Taylor’s Crossing Public Charter School, Idaho Falls: 1,347 average, up 86 points.
- Notus Junior-Senior High School, Notus: 1,404 average, up 82 points.
- Liberty Charter School: 1,548 average, up 75 points.
- Ririe High School, Ririe: 1,388 average, up 73 points.
- Gooding High School, Gooding: 1,280 average, up 67 points.
- Idaho Arts Charter School, Nampa: 1,425 average, up 65 points.
- Wallace High School, Wallace: 1,271 average, up 64 points.
The biggest decreases, 2014 to 2015
Two noteworthy names on this list. Troy High School faces a series of staff cuts; on Tuesday, voters go to the polls for the third time in 2015 to consider a supplemental tax levy. Sugar-Salem High School — like Notus, a rural high school with improving SAT scores — received national recognition from Newsweek Wednesday. Both were listed as “Beating the Odds” low-income schools that achieved high graduation rates and college go-on rates.
- Lakeside High School: 983 average, down 199 points.
- Black Canyon High School, Emmett: 1,132 average, down 159 points.
- McCall-Donnelly High School, McCall: 1,363 average, down 154 points.
- Troy Junior-Senior High School, Troy: 1,308 average, down 138 points.
- Challis Junior-Senior High School, Challis: 1,219 average, down 137 points.
- Maries High School, St. Maries: 1,201 average, down 125 points.
- Hansen Junior-Senior High School, Hansen: 1,234 average, down 117 points.
- Sugar-Salem High School, Sugar City: 1,255 average, down 110 points.
- Compass Academy, Idaho Falls: 1,305 average, down 106 points.
- Payette High School, Payette: 1,148 average, down 105 points.
Idaho Education News data analyst Randy Schrader contributed to this report.