Lake Park SAT scores ahead of the curve

Alex Tsymbalisty, Perspective Editor

For many seniors, their SAT score is an integral part of their college application. Almost every college accepts SAT scores, and they can sometimes be the difference between an acceptance letter and a rejection.

But what should students be aiming for when taking the SAT?

The SAT is a measurement of college readiness and the College Board (the company behind the SAT) has determined that a score of 1010 (480 in math and 530 in evidence based reading and writing) is the benchmark for college readiness.

This means that a student that scores a 480 or higher in math and a 530 or higher in evidence based reading and writing has 75 percent chance of getting  a C or better in their first semester classes in college.

However, the state of Illinois actually has a higher benchmark than the College Board’s to determine college readiness.

“Illinois requires students to earn scores of 540 in both math and English and Writing (ERW),” said Ian Smith, Assistant Principal for Instructional Services at West Campus.  “These scores indicate that a student has achieved mastery of the Illinois Learning Standards.”

The reason for the discrepancy in scores has to do with the Every Student Succeeds Act, passed in 2015 to replace No Child Left Behind. Signed by President Bush, NCLB tied school accountability almost solely to test scores. Obama’s ESSA broadened the criteria by which schools are evaluated.

“The State of Illinois, under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), has provided an incentive in that schools will be recognized for the levels of success that they achieve by being ranked into one of four tiers,” Smith said. “This ranking is based not only on the SAT, but also through things like high school graduation rate, attendance, science proficiency, and English Language Learner proficiency.  

“Schools that rank lower will receive more state aid and support, schools that rank higher will be recognized throughout the state for the excellent job they are doing,” he said. “In terms of the SAT specifically, under ESSA, IL is required to use a higher score on the SAT to determine student proficiency.”

Regardless of this discrepancy, Lake Park actually surpasses both of these benchmark scores, according to the Illinois State Bureau of Education.

In 2017, the first year that Illinois students were required to take the SAT, the average composite score was 1093, with the average math score being 547.8 and the average evidence based reading and writing score being 545.2.