The Farmington Board of Education got some good news recently when Principal Tim Breslin presented results from AP, CAPT and ACT tests taken by students at Farmington High School in 2012.
As always, Breslin kept the test scores in perspective, while acknowledging their importance for the students and the district.
“These percentages really represent human beings and stand for kids’ hopes and dreams,” Breslin said at a recent Board of Education meeting. “They use them for college admission, placement within a school once kids get in… and AP is the primary reason why consistently with US News World Report and other lists, we are in the top 10 percent every year because our kids always do very well.”
The 2012 class was no exception.
Farmington High School offers Advanced Placement courses and examinations in 20 subject areas, with 856 students participating. Of those, 79 percent scored a 3 or higher. AP tests are scored from 1 to 5, 1 being no recommendation, 3 being qualified and 5 being extremely well qualified.
The percentage of kids taking the test was the highest since 1999, Breslin said, which “says good things about what we aspire to for these kids.”
The 2012 scores were the highest in the past 10 years.
Farmington scores on the Standard Assessment Test (SAT) were significantly higher than state and national averages but fluctuated slightly over the past 10 years.
With 93 percent of students taking the test, the Farmington class of 2012 scored averages of 539 in critical reading, 559 in math and 550 in writing.
Breslin said that the scores confounded him, since the 2012 class scored so well on the CAPT test in reading, but not as high on the SAT in reading.
He also offered that the lower participation rate on the test may be because some colleges are no longer requiring the SAT for admission and because more students seem to be taking the ACT.
“We’re always up in the 90s [percent for participation] and we always encourage kids to take the exam,” Breslin said. “We don’t expect every graduating senior to enroll in college but we want to get them to the idea that they might want to enroll in post-secondary school at some point.”
If students have not formed plans by April, Breslin said, the high school will bring some students to visit community colleges “to demystify the experience.”
Board member Melanie Meehan suggested that the economy may be causing families to cut SAT preparation classes out of their budgets, leading to slightly lower scores.
Student scores on SAT subject tests were very high.
The ACT, or American College Testing, is a 3 ¾ hour multiple choice test with an optional writing component, scored from 0-36. It is generally preferred by colleges in the west, Breslin said, with about a third of FHS students taking it.
The Farmington 2012 averages in each subject exceeded the benchmarks are remained similar to previous years’ scores.
“Over time, I think we’re going to see more kids taking this exam,” Breslin said. “It’s generally taken by kids applying colleges farther west… Sometimes kids will take it because it speaks more to their understanding and knowledge than SAT does… More schools are saying ‘you don’t want to take one, take the other, that’s fine.’”
For scores, click here and click on College Board Testing Report.