Falling behind

Published 10:50 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Public schools score below state, nation on SAT

Suffolk public school students performed below both the state and national averages on the SAT for the 2010-2011 school year.

The city’s students scored an average of 1,360 out of a possible 2,400 on the test.

In comparison, public school students across the state had an average of 1,508, which is 25 points above the national mean.

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In contrast to the public school scores, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy students who took the test averaged a 1,735 last year.

With private and home-school students included, Virginia students’ average increased to 1,616.

Suffolk Public Schools did not return calls asking for comment Wednesday.

The SAT includes reading, math and writing portions, for which students can receive a possible 800 points each.

Both Suffolk and the state saw increases in the number of students who took the test.

“More students are taking the SAT and indicating their intent to continue their education and acquire the skills they’ll need to compete in today’s global economy,” said Patricia I. Wright, the state superintendent for public instruction. “Students who in previous years might not have viewed themselves as college material are being encouraged to take the SAT by educators who recognize their potential.”

Across the state, there was a 5-percent increase in the number of students who took the SAT this year, and Suffolk saw an even larger increase of 15 percent.

Although more students took the test, Suffolk Public Schools’ average dropped four points from the previous year.

However, reading and writing scores at both King’s Fork and Nansemond River went up.

Lakeland High School’s scores dipped in all three sections, and all of the high schools saw drops on the math portion.