Clinton, New Hartford schools top SAT scorers in region

Published Mar 18, 2017 at 4:00pm

Clinton and New Hartford school district students topped the county’s list of average scores on SAT college admission exams last year, while the Utica district was the lowest and Rome the second-lowest.

Scores for 2016 were announced this week by Business First, a Buffalo business news publication, as part of a compilation of SAT results for public school districts in 48 upstate counties.

For the results, obtained from the state Education Department, Business First said it added the average scores by students on the reading and math portions of the test.

Asked about Rome’s showing in the Business First report, school district Superintendent Peter C. Blake said “I don’t pay attention to these reports because they generally don’t accurately reflect any school and they find ways to make their data match their assumptions.”

The SAT “is not a mandated test and is taken on a volunteer basis,” commented Blake.

“The school district has no control over who takes the exam and/or how many times an individual takes the exam,” the Rome superintendent added.

“Also, the SAT is becoming less and less a priority for college admissions which is decreasing the emphasis placed on the exam,” Blake said.

Within the school district, added Blake, “we are doing nothing to address SAT exam scores as we are focused on our mandated curriculums and ensuring that students are taught the necessities under state regulations. Students that wish to attempt the SAT will continue to do so and prepare the same way that they always have.”

Among county school districts’ average SAT scores for 2016 on reading and math portions of the tests, and their numbers of test-takers:

— Clinton, 1,075; 79 students took test.

— New Hartford, 1,071; 164 students.

— Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, 1,059; 72 students.

— New York Mills, 1,045; 30 students.

— Sauquoit Valley, 1,041; 30 students.

— Whitesboro, 1,031; 147 students.

— Waterville, 1,012; 20 students.

— Adirondack, 1,001; 44 students.

— Oriskany, 989; 31 students.

— Camden, 985; 70 students.

— Westmoreland, 984; 43 students.

— Holland Patent, 977; 68 students.

— Rome, 966, 152 students.

— Utica, 922, 220 students.

A few districts were excluded from the overall upstate list because less than 20 of their students took the SAT last year, said Business First.

The publication included Oneida County districts’ results as part of a greater Utica-Rome area compilation that also included Herkimer and Otsego counties, with Cooperstown atop the 27-district list on an average score of 1,089 for 62 student test-takers.

Clinton and New Hartford were second and third on that list, while Utica was last at 27th and Rome was 24th.

Rome district officials in 2014 noted that several factors including family economic situations can affect students’ SAT performance.

Many students take preparatory courses at a financial cost that often is paid by parents, and students from economically poorer families have less access to such courses, officials said.

Rome is considered a high-needs/low-wealth district based on family economics and a limited tax base.

Business First has previously issued district results for SAT tests as well as various rankings of districts’ academic performance and financial data.