KCS 2019 SAT Test Scores and District Progress

  • News
  • Briana Warner
  • 11/1/2019

An article appeared in the October 18th Gazette-Mail regarding Kanawha County’s test scores “Kanawha says its mean SAT score is above WV’s average. But the county’s score still has dropped”. Although that is true, it is important to tell the whole story.

The KCS mean score did drop two points from last year. However, the State scores dropped by 8 points from last year and the national score dropped by 8 points from last year. This was a trend not only state wide but nationally as well.

I want to draw your attention to other indicators that demonstrate Kanawha County Schools are doing well. These important facts provide a more comprehensive view and provide the reader a better understanding of the school system.

It is important to note that all 11th graders take the SAT regardless of their academic standing. The 2019 SAT Total Scores fell within 12 points of the national score. We closed that GAP from last year by 6 points. The reading/writing scores exceeded the national score by three points. The KCS math score exceeded the State by 14 points and was within 15 points of the national. The goal will be to continue to increase academic performance.

Another indicator is the ACT score. The KCS score exceeded the State score of 20.8 with a score of 21.2. The county score showed growth from the year before as well.

The most recent official dropout rate for KCS is 1.94% which is down more than half since 2007. In 2007, the dropout rate was 4.7.

The KCS general summative assessment scores in math for grades 3-8 were above the State scores. In English/language arts in grades 3-8, the scores were above the State scores with the exception of two grades. Those two grades were within one or two points.

In addition to these increases, there are many other indicators demonstrating that our students are performing and succeeding in all areas. As a school system, there is a commitment to nurture and take care of our children since 87% of our students qualify for free lunch. 

  • The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) recognized 28 KCS students who participated in the Advanced Career curriculum in four different areas and scored at the proficient or advanced levels of the national exam.
  • Bridgeview, Mary C Snow, and Weimer were among the top 15 poverty schools in the State to meet/exceed standard in ELA Progress/Growth.
  • 3 students placed at the state level during the National School Bus Safety Contest and their posters will be sent to the national competition. State level winners are from Cedar Grove Elem, Point Harmony Elem, and DuPont MS.
  • 10 KCS seniors earned National Merit Semi-Finalists status: 5 from GWHS, 3 from SCHS, and 2 from Capital HS.
  • Kanawha Communities that Care made a financial donation of $13,200 this month to KCS for the purchase of Too Good For Drugs student workbooks for one elementary and one middle school grade level, countywide.
  • KCS was selected as a National Amazon Future Engineer district, bringing more computer science courses to the district.
  • 29 KCS students received the Governor’s workforce Credential-the highest honor within the WV Career and Technical Education.
  • 41 KCS students qualified for the international DECA marketing and management competition.
  • 6 KCS robotic teams qualified for and competed at the VEX Robotics World Championship.
  • KCS math field day teams in grades 4-9 and 10-12 were the highest scoring in WV.
  • The Bus Transportation Department was listed in the top 100 school fleets in the US in School Bus Fleet Magazine.

When it comes to sizing up public schools, test scores are the go-to metric. However, they are not the only indicator. The information provided by test scores provides a road map for constant improvement in helping our students achieve. It is time—indeed past time—to rethink and understand there are so many other indicators of student success than just a test score.

The point of this letter to editor is to put in context the article on Oct 18th in the Gazette-Mail. Great data presented was not included in the story. If we want our community to move forward in a time of many challenges, then let’s publish a balanced view of what is wrong and what is good instead of just one part of a presentation in isolation.

Continuous progress and growth will always be a goal of the school system. Our motto is Discover, Excel and Advance. Our students are doing that every day.

Dr. Ronald Duerring

Superintendent, Kanawha County Schools