GLEN RIDGE, NJ — At the Glen Ridge Board of Education meeting on Monday, Oct. 26, Superintendent Dirk Phillips presented the SAT scores of Glen Ridge High School’s class of 2020, in comparison to the scores of previous graduating classes going back to 2017. Scores in both the critical reading and writing and math portions of the test have improved each of the last three years, according to Phillips.
“Our students, throughout the last few years, have consistently gone up in their scores,” he said at the meeting. “Last year, there was a significant jump and was way above the state and national levels.”
Of the 131 members of the class of 2020, 109 took the SAT. The average critical reading and writing score was 629 in Glen Ridge, better than both the New Jersey average of 541 and the national average of 528. GRHS students scored an average of 637 on the math section of the test, better than the state average of 540 and the national average of 523.
“We’ve had growth through the last four years,” Phillips said. “We’re looking at the last four years because the SAT did change the test a few years ago, so we’re making sure we’re comparing apples to apples here.”
The comparison reached back to 2017, when, at GRHS, the critical reading and writing score was an average of 605 and the math score was an average of 590. Scores in the district have improved in both subjects every year since.
In 2020, 96 percent of students who took the SAT scored better than 1000, 68 percent scored better than 1200 and 28 percent scored better than 1400. In his presentation, Phillips mentioned several colleges’ average accepted students’ scores, including Rutgers University, with a range of 1190 to 1410, and Boston College, with a range of 1320 to 1490.
“We’re going to find that it’s going to be a much different experience with this senior class, who haven’t had the same opportunities to take the SAT because of the pandemic,” Phillips said. “There are many colleges who are looking to go test optional for this coming year, just because of the difficulty students are having even registering for the SAT.”
BOE member Anthony Bonnett asked to what the district can attribute the growth in scores.
“Is there something we can take from what we’ve done and try to incorporate it into our current environment?” he asked at the meeting.
Phillips said the district offers the PSAT test to sophomores and juniors at GRHS, and otherwise familiarizes them with the tests.
“The high school Home and School Association has been very supportive and, in the last couple years, has offered an SAT prep class for students who are interested,” he said. “What has helped is having those supports, but also when the SAT made changes in the exam, I think it helped how our students performed. Prior to that, we had a lot of students interested in the ACT. What we started to see when the SAT made that switch is that the number of students taking the ACT has dwindled a little bit.”