Kootenai Students scored above the state average on the SAT, while St. Maries and Lakeside students scored below the average.

Administered to Idaho juniors and seniors each year, the exam demonstrates whether a student is prepared for college level reading and mathematics based on benchmark scores.

According to The College Board – administrator of the SAT— benchmark scores indicate a student’s likelihood of achieving a grade of “B” or higher in first-year college courses.

Of the three school districts, Kootenai also had the most students reach the benchmark, 46 percent met benchmark scores for both evidence-based reading and writing (EBRW) and math. St. Maries had 22 percent of students reach both benchmarks. Plummer-Worley had 17 percent reach both benchmarks.

The benchmark score for mathematics if 530 and the benchmark for EBRW is 480.

Statewide, 33 percent of students achieved at least a 530 in mathematics, while 56 percent achieved a 480 in EBRW.

This year the average Idaho SAT score was 976 points, out of a total 1,600. Statewide, scores have declined since at least 2016, when the average score was 999. In 2018, the average score was 989.

“The SAT is one measure of college readiness but focusing on one test score does not tell the whole story for any student.” said Superintendent Ybarra. “We know that results can reflect attitude as well as aptitude and are impacted by a variety of factors. We need to start a conversation about what assessments and measures best reflect how well students are prepared for college or a career based on their chosen postsecondary pathway.”

Plummer-Worley district Superintendent Judi Sharrett said she agreed with Ms. Ybarra that student attitude was a factor in test results.

“Absolutely,” Ms. Sharrett said. “We need to make sure our students are serious about taking the SAT.

We try to get our students to take the test seriously. It’s a matter of instilling a sense of urgency and importance.”

Kootenai and St. Maries school districts could not be reached in time for comment.

Ms. Sharrett said she is dissatisfied with the SAT results of her district.

“No, we’re not satisfied. But we’re coming into this year operating on the new school-wide improvement plan which includes trying to bring those scores up as well as ISAT.”

Plummer-Worley students also participate in the Idaho Standards Achievement Test which is administered annually to Idaho students in grades three to eight and once in high school as an ongoing means of testing literacy, writing and mathematics.

According to an Idaho Department of Education press release ISAT scores for 2019 show improvement. Proficiency scores in math have increased from 41.5 percent in 2016 to 44.43 percent in 2019. The percentage of students achieving proficiency in English language arts increased from 53.2 percent to 55.01 percent from 2016 to 2019.

“It’s encouraging to see steady increases, both from year to year and from grade to grade as students progress,” Superintendent Ybarra said. “More Idaho students are performing at a proficient or advanced level, and we believe that trend will continue.”

The Idaho Department of Education also implemented a new program to test the reading ability of kindergarten through third grade students, the Idaho Reading Indicator. According to the department results comparing fall 2018 to spring 2019 show “significant growth.”

“Among those students who tested in both the fall and spring, we improved from just over half of students reading at grade level (52.88 percent) to nearly three-quarters (69.93 percent) reading at grade level,” said Karlynn Laraway, director of Assessment and Accountability.

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