The results were mixed on the latest SAT, with those taking the test in Sampson County Schools showing marked improvement while those students in the city system slipped slight.
But before parents of students in Clinton City get too upset, they should put this latest news in perspective. So, too, should those in Sampson County Schools.
While the county system is to be commended for continued efforts to improve on every educational level, superintendent Dr. Ethan Lenker would be quick to point out that the SAT results, though good, go up and down and aren’t the kind of instrument one wants to use to measure the progress of a system and its students.
We couldn’t agree more, which is why on the one hand we applaud Sampson County Schools students who took the SAT and did well — and the system educators who helped to make it possible. On the other, we aren’t raising red flags because Clinton City didn’t do as well as in previous years.
The SAT results, released just over a week ago, show that Clinton High students who opted to take the exam most colleges use as one instrument in determining eligibility, didn’t score as well as those taking the test a year ago.
But should that be a reason to panic? Should it be a reason to think that the school systems doesn’t do as good a job educating students as others across the state? The answer would be a resounding no.
In fact, the SAT should not be used to measure anything but a particular student’s ability on a given day, and with that one test. It’s not that we don’t put stock in the test; we do. It’s one instrument that should be used to measure a student’s reasoning ability, but it should never be the only one.
And that’s the way parents should look at it.
Any given year’s SAT scores should be measured as just that and not used as the thermometer that gauges the overall abilities of students
Giving too much weight to the test wouldn’t be appropriate since it only measures a particular group of students and is not an accurate yard stick of how well a school system is doing overall.
It is commendable of our local superintendents and high school administrators that they have a plethora of offerings to help students improve their SAT-taking abilities and we recommend parents urge their teenagers to take part in some of the prep classes available. No question it will benefit them in more than one way and should, if taken seriously, help them improve their SAT score.
It is also to the credit of those administrators that they did not try to excuse away the results, instead they talked about the need to keep working toward the goals and cited ways in which they were already moving in that direction.
Lenker, too, expressed pleasure that students did well on the SAT but was just as quick to point out measures in place to continue working toward student growth in every academic area.
That, too, is as it should be. Educators need to realize that the SAT and every other test is important in the educational scheme of things, and are part and parcel of what a school system represents. But it should not be considered by anyone the standard by which we measure our educational institutions.
It’s a test, one test, and should be treated as such.
Every school system has its problems; ours are no different. But we believe we have strong educators who work hard every day to help our children succeed.
And that’s where the real measure of success should begin.