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Idaho SAT scores: a few statistical quirks

A few statistical quirks from Idaho’s second SAT day in April — when 17,306 high school juniors took the college placement exam:

School districts

Latah County’s Whitepine Joint School District, based in Deary, posted the state’s highest scores in all three SAT categories: math, writing and critical reading.

A qualification: Whitepine’s scores include two schools, Deary High School and the Idaho Distance Education Academy, or IDEA, a statewide charter school authorized through the Whitepine district. IDEA — a five-star school, in Idaho’s most recent five-star ratings — ranked among the top five schools statewide in all three SAT categories. But Deary, a four-star school, also beat the state averages in all three disciplines, and the school ranked second among all Idaho high schools in math, with an average score of 549 on the SAT’s 800-point scale.

Scroll down for lists of Idaho’s top five — and bottom five — districts in each SAT category. And here’s another qualification: The lists are made up predominately of smaller districts, with perhaps only a couple of dozen 11th-graders. These are small, and volatile, student sample sizes.

High schools

  • The Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy posted the state’s top SAT scores across the board, scoring 588 or above in all three disciplines. The Coeur d’Alene academy received a five-star rating from the state; recently, the academy was one of eight Idaho high schools that made a Washington Post list of America’s most challenging high schools. Again, this is a relatively small sample size: the academy had 73 juniors in 2012-13.
  • Small, alternative high schools generally posted the state’s lowest scores. The lowest-rated school was Mount Harrison Junior-Senior High School in the Minidoka County Joint School District. Test scores for Mount Harrison’s junior class of 45 hovered at about 300 in each category. But based on the five-star ratings — the state’s yardstick for measuring school performance — Mount Harrison did move from a one-star rating to a two-star rating in 2012-13.

April 17 was the state’s second annual SAT day; all Idaho high school students are required to take a college entrance exam before graduation, and the SAT is offered free of charge. Statewide scores were virtually unchanged from 2011-12 to 2012-13.

You can click on the State Department of Education website to see how your local district stacks up, or see how your local high school scored.

Now, on to the tables.

Top five-bottom five: Critical reading

Whitepine 529
Moscow 521
Cascade 502
Lake Pend Oreille 496
Nezperce 493
STATE AVERAGE 454
Glenns Ferry 384
Bruneau-Grand View 374
Clark County 373
Plummer-Worley 371
Lapwai 370

Top five-bottom five: Math

Whitepine 546
Garden Valley 523
Grace 523
Moscow 507
Cascade 502
STATE AVERAGE 453
Clark County 391
Minidoka County 387
Plummer-Worley 380
Glenns Ferry 379
Bruneau-Grand View 372

Top five-bottom five: Writing

Whitepine 525
McCall-Donnelly 508
Moscow 504
West Side 499
Cascade 496
STATE AVERAGE 447
Glenns Ferry 386
Aberdeen 381
Lapwai 373
Plummer-Worley 362
Bruneau-Grand View 355

 

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

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