Idaho's schools see little change in college-readiness

SATs show most juniors aren't ready for post-secondary education.

broberts@idahostatesman.comSeptember 7, 2013 

Idaho's goal of improving the number of high school graduates ready for college or career needs work, based on test scores released by the state Friday.

Idaho educational leaders have set a goal of 60 percent of Idahoans age 25 to 34 having some form of post-secondary education by 2020.

But just about a quarter of the state's high school juniors were prepared, based on SAT scores from exams students took last April.

SAT exams measure students in critical reading, math,, and writing. Among Treasure Valley schools, the number of students who scored at least 500 - the state's definition for being college ready - in at least one category ranged from 15 percent to 45 percent, depending on the subject.

How did Boise and Meridian districts do?

Meridian trailed Boise slightly. For example, 45 percent of Boise's juniors who took the SAT were college-ready in math, compared to 39 percent in Meridian. Meridian was down slightly from 2012, when 41 percent of students reached the goal.

The scores won't tell the Meridian District much "until we can slice them and dice them" by school, said Linda Clark, Meridian superintendent.

SAT scores will be more helpful to the district once sophomores start taking the PSAT in October, she said. Those test scores will identify problem areas where students need additional work, she said.

Which district was the top performer in the Treasure Valley?

Boise was the leader compared to Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell and Kuna. Between 42 and 45 percent of Boise juniors who took the SAT met the goal in the three test categories.

Who did the worst?

Caldwell School District. Fewer than 25 percent of students met the goal in any one of the three categories. Caldwell High School has begun a sophomore class in critical thinking, hoping the challenge will improve students' showings on the SAT.

How many students take the test?

In April, 17,306 students took the exams statewide, up 4 percent from last year.

What does the state do with the SAT scores?

They are used as one element in determining how well a school is performing. Performance reports come out once a year as part of the state's rating system.

Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRoberts

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service