alexandrianews.org Editorial

Alexandria City Public Schools has been actively working to promote more participation by T. C. Williams students in taking the SAT college admissions test. All tests are administered free to any student wishing to take them. Our recent article noted many of the new accessibility, study and feedback benefits that Alexandria high school students will now have at their fingertips. Income-eligible students receive college application fee waivers and scholarship information. In all, 83% of the graduating class of 2017 took the test, including many students who would most likely not have considered college as an option. 

All of this is good news.  The less good news is that T. C. students as a group underperformed both against their Virginia peers and nationally, particularly our black and Hispanic students, many of who qualify as low income. T. C. students had a mean Math score of 484, below the Virginia mean of 558 and the national mean of 527. In English Reading and Writing, T. C. students had a mean score of 493, below the Virginia mean of 538 and the national mean of 517. Given that all the benefits now available, including pre-testing at the 9th, 10th and 11th grade levels, will not be fully realized until the graduating class of 2020, ACPS now has the information necessary to improve scores across the board. And that improvement is absolutely necessary.

 SAT scores have been regularly released for years by the school system. Yet this year alexandrianews.org had to pry test results from ACPS. With the school system spending an average of $17,000 per student, Alexandrians merit every bit of information available on how our students are performing. Hopefully, new T. C. Principal Pete Balas will work for a more open relationship with the press than has been the case with the school system’s Communications Office. 

When attempting to obtain public information from ACPS about this and other matters, we would hate for the word “communication” to become an oxymoron – a great word to memorize for the next SAT.      

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