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Local SAT scores sliding

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While Virginia’s 2013 public school graduates outperformed the nation on the SAT college-admissions test, students in the Fredericksburg region achieved slightly lower scores than their peers across the state, the College Board reported Thursday.

The average SAT score for Virginia public school students taking the test in spring 2013 was 1,517, while nationally, graduates scored an average of 1,474.

Local school districts garnered an average of 1,478, a hair higher than the national average and roughly on par with their scores last year. About 4,130 local public school students took the test in the spring.

Locally, students at the private Fredericksburg Academy averaged 1,792 on their spring tests, compared with 1,779 last year.

A perfect score on the SAT is 2,400.

Virginia graduates improved four points in critical reading, one point in math and two points in writing compared to last year’s test. Among public school students nationwide, achievement was flat in reading, and dropped two points in math and one point in writing, according to a release from the Virginia Department of Education.

“Most Virginia high schools are doing a great job preparing our students for the college entrance exams,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a DOE press release. “While nationwide test scores showed no growth, this year we saw in Virginia impressively high marks on every section of the SAT. This is due to the rigorous standards we hold our students to, and the high-quality classroom instruction by our teachers.”

Locally, the highest performing school district was Fauquier County. Fauquier students earned an average score of 1,531, and the division was the only local one to outperform the state.

They were followed by Stafford County graduates, who achieved a 1,513 average.

“We believe these scores are a result of our schools’ continued focus on college and career preparedness, the availability of college-level courses for all students and continued quality teaching,” Chris Quinn, assistant superintendent for instruction, said in an email. “We are proud of our students’ efforts and commend our teachers for providing the educational opportunities that led to this success.”

In third was King George County, with an average score of 1,500.

The poorest scores in the region belonged to Colonial Beach Schools, whose students dropped 65 points from last year to an average of 1,249.

Caroline County students received an average score of 1,329, and Westmoreland scored 1,381—improvements over 2012 for both districts.

And while the state’s average score rose seven points from 1,510 in 2012 to 1,517 in 2013, regional scores fell from an average of 1,482 in 2012 to 1,478 in 2013.

In addition to Caroline and Westmoreland counties, King George and Stafford achieved higher scores between 2012 and 2013.

However, the majority of local school districts achieved lower scores in 2013 than the year before, including Colonial Beach, Culpeper, Fauquier, Fredericksburg, Louisa, Orange and Spotsylvania.

While the number of Virginia students taking the rival ACT is increasing, the SAT remains the dominant college-entrance examination in Virginia, said the DOE.


The College Board also reported that the number of Virginia public school students who took at least one Advanced Placement examination during their high school career increased by more than 1 percent this year, and the number of tests taken increased by more than 2 percent, the DOE said.

Of the 136,662 AP tests taken by Virginia public school students, 82,420, or 60.3 percent, posted a grade of 3 or higher—the score needed to earn college credit. A 5 is a perfect score.

In the Fredericksburg region, 9,280 tests were taken by 2013 graduates, and 5,108 of those test takers scored 3 or higher.

In 2012, the region recorded 8,005 tests taken and 4,590 that received a 3 or higher.

The College Board’s February 2013 Advanced Placement Report to the Nation ranked Virginia fifth in the country in achievement on AP examinations.

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