Tiny Freeman High School was the top scorer among Spokane Valley schools on the Scholastic Aptitude Test.
But most other Valley schools fared well, trouncing the national average scores on the annual college entrance exam.
Nationwide, the average this year was 428 in the verbal portion of the exam, up from 423 in 1994, and 482 in math, up from 479 in 1994.
Only one Valley high school - East Valley High School - scored below the national average. Spokane School District 81 beat the nationwide verbal score by 10 points, with a score of 438, and tied in math. Mead School District beat the national score by 20 points in verbal, with 448, and 21 points in math, with 503.
Freeman seniors averaged 518 in both the math and verbal portions of the exam this year, up from 497 in math and 433 in verbal in 1994. It’s the third year in a row that the school’s scores in both sections of the test have increased.
“It was a good leap. I’d like to say that’s because of the new principal,” joked Dennis Schuerman, who is entering his fifth year as principal of Freeman High School. Sixteen out of the school’s 49 seniors, or 32.6 percent, took the exam.
Central Valley’s two high schools split high scores in the exam. Central Valley High School was tops in verbal with 444, up four points from 1994. University High School also topped the national average in verbal with 441, up seven points from the 1994 score.
But in math, U-Hi was the leader, with 499 to CVHS’s 491. U-Hi was up four points from 1994, and CVHS, down 12 points.
At CV, 42 percent of seniors took the test this year, down from 50 percent last year. At U-Hi, 58 percent took the test, up from 55 percent last year.
Many other seniors took the ACT, another national college entrance exam. Districtwide, 69 percent of seniors took one of the two tests, said CV’s assessment coordinator Geoff Praeger.
And Praeger does not place much emphasis on changes of 10 points or less in the SAT from year to year. Half the schools the size of CV’s high school will fluctuate by that much, he said.
Of greater import are five- and six-year trends. “(CV’s) six year data would indicate a very, very gradual improvement,” in SAT scores, Praeger said.
West Valley School District also made substantial gains from 1994 to 1995 in SAT scores, scoring at or above the national average. Seniors scored 495 in math, up from 471 in 1994, and 428 in verbal, up from 411 the year before.
Out of the school’s 160 seniors, 56, or 35 percent, took the SAT in 1995. Although the high school is small, said school counselor Helen Liberg, an increasing number of students is taking the exam.
East Valley School District is the only Valley district that dipped below the national average in SAT scores. In 1995, East Valley seniors scored 462 in math, down six points from 1994, and 20 points off the national average. The verbal score was 424, down four points from 1994, and four points off the national average. A slightly greater percentage of the class took the exam this year as compared to last. Last year, 44.4 percent of the senior class took the exam, as opposed to 44.8 this year.