Fayette tops state, national average on SATs


By Martha Barksdale

Once again, Fayette students posted higher averages than both the state and the nation on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, but, overall, local scores declined from last year.

The College Board released SAT scores last week, and Fayette students posted an average score of 1547, 94 points above the state average, and 38 points over the national average, but eight points lower than last year's system average.

McIntosh and Starr's Mill posted the highest scores in the county, with 1624 and 1617 respectively, but both were down from last year's scores. Sandy Creek High, which reported an average score of 1436, dropped 66 points from its 2009 totals. In 2009, Sandy Creek was the Fayette school that had showed the biggest gain from the previous year.

Two Fayette schools showed improvement in their scores this year. Whitewater High School went up 17 points to a score of 1518. Fayette County High jumped 39 points from last year to 1491.

"While the SAT is only one measure of student performance, we are, of course, delighted to have shown an improvement," Fayette County High Principal Charles Warr said.

He said a number of factors figure into the strong performance, but he especially cited the instructional focus period, which is 22 minutes set aside each day to assist students with their individual needs. Students who are behind in certain subjects can get help, while advanced placement students can work in those areas. Some credit recovery is also available to students who have failed a class. Other students can take advantage of a general study period as long as they maintain a "B" average, Warr noted.

The principal said parental support is also key in student achievement. "We are fortunate to have good parents who emphasize the importance of academic achievement." He also gave credit to the school system for making an SAT preparation website available.

Warr said there is always room for improvement. "We never arrive at perfection. We are never complacent."

A perfect SAT score is 2400. The SAT is divided into three sections, with 800 points available in each. Fayette students averaged 520 in critical reading, 524 in mathematics and 503 in reading, all above the state and national averages.

In 2010, 1,358 graduates took the SAT in Fayette.