By Paul T. Choate
Oct. 9, 2012. At the Oct. 8 Board of Education meeting Assistant Supt. Dr. David Fonseca presented the most recent rankings of ACT and SAT scores for Watauga County Schools as compared to the region and the state. WCS ranked near the top in the state in virtually every testing category with some very impressive scores.
On the ACT (American College Testing) scores, WCS was near or above the North Carolina benchmark in English, math, reading, science, writing and writing plus. The school system was above the state average among 115 N.C. school systems in every one of those categories.
Watauga ranked second in the state in English, behind only Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, and came in third in both writing and reading, fourth in mathematics, seventh in science, fifth in composite and seventh in writing plus.
As for regional rankings, WCS ranked first in English, math, reading and science when compared to school systems in Avery, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes and Caldwell counties.
The ACT is currently a mandatory test administered in the 11th grade free of charge.
As for the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) math-creative writing-writing composite scores, WCS has posted scores of 1610 in 2010, 1590 in 2011 and 1587 in 2012. Though the numbers are in decline, Dr. Fonseca pointed out that the numbers are still very high and said the scores were “not bad at all — actually excellent results.”
WCS ranked third in the state in each of the three categories individually (math, creative writing and writing) and came in second in the overall composite rankings this year with the 1587, behind only Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ 1766.
Regionally, WCS SAT scores were again the best in their six-county region, with Ashe County Schools being the only other school system to be above 1500 on the composite, at 1506.
“This is excellent news for our teachers and our students and our community,” Dr. Fonseca said.
The SAT is not mandatory and continues to be offered to offered to WCS students at a cost of $50 and up. Last year, 72.6 percent of all Watauga High School seniors took the SAT. Fonseca said that number could also be skewed by early-graduates, early test takers and drop outs.
School board members appeared pleased by the report, but agreed that the goal is still to strive to be No. 1 in the state.
“We are in the middle of a political season. We routinely keep hearing from political advertising that education is broken. I would like to challenge them to come find where education is broken in Watauga County Schools when we are placing the way we are on our ACTs and SATs,” said Supt. Dr. David Kafitz. “I think this reflects on a long tradition of high academic performance by our students, and that just goes to the quality and excellence of teaching that we see day to day in our classrooms.”
For more information about WCS, visit www. watauga.k12.nc.us.