Editorial: To college and beyond

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 16, 2011

The average SAT score in the Rowan-Salisbury School System rose 26 points over the past year, a sign that the system is making progress in preparing students for college. Keep pushing.
When you look below the surface, the scores are a mixed bag, with some schoolsí averages up and some down. But an overall increase is particularly noteworthy when you consider that the state and national averages went down. The College Board attributes the decline in scores to the fact that more students took the test. But Rowan-Salisbury saw an increase in both numbers ó the average score and in percentage of participation.
Thatís good news. But what really matters to most parents is not the system average or even their schoolís average. Their top concern is the score their ownson or daughter made on the SAT ó both for getting into the college or university of their choice and for doing well once they get to college.
The College Board says the score students need to succeed in college is 1550 ó considerably above Rowan-Salisburyís average of 1422 and the national average of 1500. (A perfect score on the three-section test is 2400.) Itís one thing to get into college and another to graduate. Though people donít talk much about college dropouts, graduation rates are as important to colleges and their students as they are to high schools.
The difference is that, in high school, students usually have their parentsí support and encouragement ó and structure ó to help them succeed. Once they get to college, young people are on their own to balance newfound freedom with self-discipline and study. As high schools prepare students to do well on tests, the best ones also instill a sense of what it will take to keep up the good work.