Most of us, at one point in time, have set a goal to lose some weight. And the goal is not so much to lose “some” weight, but usually, the goal is a measurable goal. It’s usually: “to fit in my skinny jeans”, or better yet, “to lose 21.5 lbs. by Thanksgiving”.
Setting measurable goals is very important if one is determined to succeed
Setting measurable goals (and measuring them periodically) allows us to see our progress and to figure out how much do we still have to work to achieve our goal.
One of the ways high school students measure their progress toward being ready for college is their SAT score
SAT tests are standardized tests, and are administered by The College Board. The purpose of the SATs is to measure a student’s proficiency and readiness for college. Most colleges require prospective students to provide their SAT score as part of their admissions package.
Average SAT scores can be used to compare high schools
At the high school level, the average SAT score for the school is one way to compare how well one high school prepares their students for college. When we review the Average SAT scores by high school, it gives us a parameter to help us compare high schools.
Below is a table ranking all of the Fairfax County High Schools by their average 2011 SAT test results. It’s important to note that, this year, there were 9 schools (out of 26) that improved their scores from last year’s (2010) average, and their improvement is noted in the last column.
Fairfax County High School Rankings – by 2011 Average SAT Scores
|2010 to 2011
|# 1||Thomas Jefferson*||2186|
|# 3||George Mason (Falls Church)||1774|
|# 5||Woodson||1754||+ 16|
|# 6||Oakton||1753||+ 24|
|# 8||Marshall||1702||+ 12|
|# 9||Lake Braddock||1669||+ 30|
|# 10||Robinson||1666||+ 1|
|# 11||West Springfield||1660||+ 16|
|Fairfax County Average SAT Score: 1654|
|# 17||South Lakes||1609||+ 30|
|# 18||South County||1603||+ 31|
|# 19||West Potomac||1556|
|# 20||Hayfield||1519||+ 44|
|National Average SAT Score: 1500|
|# 23||Falls Church||1485|
|# 26||Mount Vernon||1400|
* Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is a State magnet school with a selective admissions process.
SAT scores are only one way to compare high schools
As we mentioned earlier, SAT scores apply specifically to gauge how well the high school has prepared its students for this standardized test. But only a fraction of the students take this test, since not all the students in a high school plan to go to college.
To get a better picture, we can compare using SOLs
Another way to rank Fairfax County high schools could be using their Average Standard of Learning (SOL) scores, which is a test mandated by the State of Virginia and is administered to all the students (unlike the SATs which are only administered to those who choose to take it). But then one could wonder if the school is “teaching to the test” or if the school is truly preparing its students for real life.
Or, we can use The Challenge Index®
To try to come up with an alternate way of comparing high schools, the Washington Post’s Jay Matthews created The Challenge Index®. This index takes into account the number of students who take advanced classes (such as Advanced Placement – AP or International Baccalaureate -IB) and their scores. The purpose of this index is to identify how much a high school is challenging all of its students.
Of course, tests only tell you part of the story
Academics are a very important part of education, but there are many other aspects of education that are highly relevant, for example: foreign languages, sports programs, leadership programs, clubs, and, of course, the environment in which everything takes place. All these (and more) are very important parts of a student’s education.
Taking into account all these special programs, as well as the academics, and to help you identify which school is best for your particular needs, we have created the report “How to Choose the Right School”.
How to Choose the Right School
- Is the first download in “The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax“,
- Contains SAT, SOL and Challenge Index scores per high school – in a single table, and
- Guides you through selecting special programs
As a current subscriber, you will be notified as soon as the 2012-2013 version of the report is released, which has updated scores and figures.
If you haven’t subscribed yet, why wait? Downloading The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax is free, and you’ll get not only this report, but also the Fairfax County Home Affordability Map, and detailed information about each Fairfax County high school boundary.
*Scale photo by beleaveme on flickr, Source of data: http://www.fcps.edu