WESTPORT — High school juniors had the highest SAT scores in both math and reading among any district in the state, according to school-administered SAT results released Wednesday.

Westport’s rise comes amid an overall stumble in state SAT scores that saw an 8-point drop in language arts scores and a four-point decrease in math scores.

While Staples High School had one of the highest average math scores in the state at 610 points — with a rare 1-point increase over last year’s scores — Westport’s 2018 language arts score, which averaged 610 points, exceeded the scores of all other districts, despite falling seven points behind 2017 scores. Both are out of a possible score of 800.

Darien scored higher than Westport in both categories last year, but saw a steep 26- and 24-point decline in math and english scores, respectively, putting Darien behind Westport in both subjects this year.

Fairfield Ludlowe High School, like Westport’s math score, was a rare success store among 2018 scores and pulled a 583 in math — 9 points higher than last year — and did better in language arts as well with an average score of 590 — 7 points higher than in 2017.

Statewide, average language arts scores remain higher than the grade-level score of 480 set by the state when it adopted the SAT as the state’s standardized test for 11th-graders three years ago. For the third year in a row, more than 60 percent of juniors taking the test scored at or above the expected target.

Average math scores have yet to reach the grade-level score of 530. In math, 40.3 percent of students met or exceed the target.

The score decline cut across every category in reading. In math, the one increase was for students who qualify for free meals, which rose from an average score of 435 to 440.

In that, Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell took some solace.

“While results have remained relatively stable over the last three years, we are encouraged by the bright spots in the results of this year’s SAT School Day including a majority of students mastering college and career readiness in English language arts and an increase in achievement in mathematics for students from low-income backgrounds,” Wentzell said in a prepared statement.

She said the Connecticut SAT School Day serves as an accountability assessment measure, but also provides all high school juniors the opportunity to take a college readiness exam at no cost. The SAT is one of two tests many colleges still look to when admitting students.

The results, in addition to measuring student performance, can also be used by students applying to college.

“Our goal is to make sure all of our students are prepared to succeed in college and their careers,” Wentzell said. “To that end, we are dedicated to supporting districts’ efforts to close achievement gaps and raise student performance across the board.”

As for why overall scores went down, state officials said one reason is that different kids are taking the test each year.

“It is hard to say why the achievement of this group of 11th-graders was slightly lower than that of the group from 2016-17,” said Peter Yazbak, a state Department of Education spokesman. He also characterized the change as narrow.

Statewide, 95.2 percent of high school juniors — about 37,900 students — took the test last spring. For many, testing occurred on a make up day in April, since on March 21, the designated SAT Day, many schools canceled classes because of an expected nor’easter.


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