A Look at What SAT Report on Camden Means

Julia Terruso, Philadelphia Enquirer, December 22, 2013

A statistic released by the Camden School District—that three out of about 882 high school seniors scored “college ready” on the SAT in 2012—sparked criticism and questions from education advocates last week.

The number, based on state performance reports from the 2011-12 school year, uses the College Board’s college-readiness parameter score of 1550 out of 2400 on math, reading and writing.

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While only the three students—one at Camden High School and two at Brimm Medical Arts High School—scored 1550 or higher, only 42 percent of Camden High School seniors took the test. Nationally, 43 percent of students met the benchmark.

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The College Board said its 1550 score is associated with a 65 percent probability of obtaining a first-year average of B-minus or higher, and is based on a sample of student performance at four-year colleges.

“If a student does not meet the SAT benchmark score of 1550, it does not mean he or she can’t or won’t be successful in college,” the College Board said in a news release. “It means that students who do not achieve a score of 1550 on the SAT have less than a 65 percent probability of achieving a first-year GPA of B-minus or higher.”

Nationally, 46 percent of students who did not meet the SAT benchmark enrolled in a four-year college, compared with 78 percent of students who scored 1550 or higher.

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Low SAT performance in Camden is not reserved for public schools. At LEAP Academy Charter, where 98 percent of students took the SAT, no students met the benchmark. At Camden Academy Charter High School, only 6 percent of SAT-takers in a senior class of 97 met the benchmark.

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[Editor’s Note: According to the 2010 Census, Camden is 47 percent Hispanic, 44 percent black, and 5 percent white.]

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