Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Isle SATs gain
on nationals

Isle public schools gain
5 points in math and slip
1 point in verbal this year

By Helen Altonn

Hawaii's college-bound public school students taking this year's Stanford Achievement Test gained five points in math and slipped one point in verbal, reflecting the national trend.

Nationally, the average total score on SAT exams remained steady but math scores reached a 32-year high and verbal scores declined slightly after being flat for years.

"Hawaii's public school SAT scores have gained ground on the national averages the past five years," said Patricia Hamamoto, superintendent for the state Department of Education.

But she said "there is substantial room to improve."

Also encouraged by the progress, Selvin Chin-Chance, Department of Education test development and administrative specialist, said, "I think the schools have concentrated quite a bit more effort helping students improve."

Hawaii's combined public, private and religious school students who took the test jumped five points in math after dropping four points in 2001, according to figures released today by the College Board.

Hawaii's combined average math score for public, religious and private schools increased from 515 last year to 520; the national average increased two points, from 514 to 516.

Combined verbal scores increased two points while the national average dropped two points.

Hawaii's combined average verbal score increased from 486 last year to 488 while the national average dropped from 506 to 504.

Math scores for the combined Hawaii schools have increased 18 points in 10 years and eight points in five years. Combined verbal scores went up 11 points over the past decade and five points the last five years.

A total of 1,327,831 students took the SAT nationally -- 46 percent of the country's 2.88 million high school graduates. Participation rates from state to state varied from 4 percent to 83 percent.

In Hawaii, 7,410 students or 53 percent of the class of 2002 completed the SAT. Of those, 4,688 or 63.3 percent attended public schools.

Chin-Chance said the College Board is planning to change its generalized test in the future "to be a little more relevant to what's happening in the high schools."

Hawaii may benefit from that change, he said, pointing out island students tend to do better on the American College Test, which is oriented to subject matter,.

Here's a breakdown of Hawaii's SAT scores this year by schools:

>> Public school scores remained below national averages: Math scores increased five points over the previous year, from 488 to 493, but verbal scores dropped one point, from 463 to 462.

>> Private or independent school students gained one point in math, from 598 to 599, and climbed five points in verbal, from 545 to 550. They surpassed national averages for other independent schools and are higher than combined national averages.

>> Religious school students jumped nine points in math, 546 to 555, reversing a loss of seven points in 2001, and gained two points in verbal, 523 to 525, after losing five points last year.

Overall in Hawaii, more females took the SAT test than males, 4,009 or 54 percent, to 3,401 or 46 percent. Males had higher average scores in both verbal, 488 to 487, and math, 533 to 509.

Nationally males outscored females in verbal, 507 to 502, and math, 534 to 500.

State Department of Education
College Board

E-mail to City Desk


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