Test scores reflect new plan

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PARIS – New requirements for the SATs have made it difficult to compare results to previous years in the Oxford Hills School District, school officials say.

All of the high school juniors were required to take the test, instead of the past standard where only college-bound students took it.

In reading and math, junior students scored an average 422 in each category. The state average in reading was 443, and math was 444.

In writing, a new category this year, SAD 17 juniors’ average was 418. The state average was 435.

Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Principal Ted Moccia said it was the students who would not have normally taken the SAT who brought the average scores down.

“Before, we had typical students going onto a four-year school, and their scores were pretty average,” Moccia said. “All the juniors took it (this year), and there were lower scores.”

About 50 percent of the students taking the test scored at about 490, which meets state standards.

Moccia said the district will focus next year on “nontraditional students,” or students who wouldn’t have taken the SAT if not required, to improve their scores.

The school offered SAT preparation courses, which were not well attended, Moccia said.

School officials have released several plans of action to increase scores. Sophomore students will see more of the test material infused into their classroom lessons, Moccia said, and students behind grade level will have double blocks of literacy and numeracy.

According to information from SAD 17, the school will also expand Advanced Placement options, provide professional development, use eighth-grade data to plan interventions, and review the special education structure.

At the Dec. 18 school board meeting, officials gave a presentation comparing the SAT results to the MEA results.

Where 2005 MEA data for juniors showed reading at state average, writing at two points below state average and math one point below state average, 2006 SAT data showed the district to be two points below average in each category.

Ten SAT points are equivalent to one MEA point.

School data broke students down into categories. Males did better on the SATs than the MEAs in writing, but in math, they did better on the MEAs.

In reading, females did better on the MEAs than the SATs, the data shows.

Both economically disadvantaged and special education students overall performed better on the MEAs, the data shows.

Comparing the MEAs to the SATs is “like comparing apples to oranges,” Moccia said. “This is the new apple, and this is what we have to work on.”

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