Putting 2014 SAT Results in Perspective

Rob Collins, fellow school board member, posted this taunt in the comments section of my blog yesterday (not published):

Alas, I was hoping you would price my instinct wrong. A lot of people believe you only post negative on your blog. I thought you might take this opportunity to tell the good news along with the bad. I guess the detractors are correct…

If this page is truly about commentary regarding Timberlane and Sandown hen shouldn’t it include the positive as well? Or does it only include negative commentary?

Well, here are the facts.  Timberlane’s most recent SAT scores are definitely an improvement over the last few years, but while we should rejoice in  good academic news, we should not break our arm patting ourselves on the back.  In perspective and compared to our leading cohorts, we’ve got a long way to go on both SATs and AP exams.

 A Word about the AP Results

Arthur Green was able to obtain the AP results from 2011 to 2014 for Timberlane.  The other school districts were asked for this information but did not provide it to us.  That is why we are publishing the information from the US News and World Report (cited by Mr. Collins recently) even though the data is  from 2012.

Timberlane’s AP results for 2012 were particularly poor.  Other years have been better and recently improving but still below what comparable districts are accomplishing with less money and fewer staff.

2011   12% pass*

2012   7% pass

2013   10% pass

2014    15% pass

* By pass we mean those students who scored 3-5 on the exam that has a scoring rubric of 1 to 5.  This is because  a score of 3 or more may qualify  students for college credit.  No institution will give college credit for an AP score below 3.

If facts strike Mr. Collins and others as negative, do  not criticize the messenger.  We cannot improve if we deceive ourselves. Yes, we’ve had some good improvement in SAT scores this year and in the percentage of students “passing” AP exams.  This is encouraging but our overall scores and AP pass rate need  more consistent improvement.

Update:  Thanks to the reader who pointed out that this entry does not make it clear that the Timberlane AP results are for graduating seniors, not the total set of students taking the tests in a particular year.  The column heading in the table –  “% Grade 12 Passed” applies also to the Timberlane numbers for 2011 through 2014 shown following the table.   This confusion was on display at the Public Hearing Jan. 15, where the Superintendent inserted the district’s overall “pass” rate of 51% in rebuttal to comments which clearly addressed the 15% of graduating seniors who have earned AP credits.




Filed under Sandown Issues

8 responses to “Putting 2014 SAT Results in Perspective

  1. It seems a handful among the various principalities and power structures within what is called your “district” are quick to pour water upon the flame of hope, while failing to offer substance which responds to the obvious. What a downer.


    Ignoring is a good idea, while moving forward with what you have, inspiring the fence-sitters. Unfortunately no amount of flame will motivate the seat warmers who, aided by mass and gravity, impress nothing but the cushioned leather and their elbows upon the dais.

    Removing the seats, the gavels, and the heretofore unquestioned public revenue stream is the next good option.

    Here’s hoping the fence-sitters jump on in and do just that!

    • And for the record, K1mgy is not my son -in-law as Mr. Bealo claimed. I don’t have a son-in-law of any sort. This commentator is not related to me in any way. He is simply a member of the public with an unusual interest in school board issues in Mass. and NH – and someone from long observation who understands the underlying politics very well.

  2. Lou F

    There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics. It strikes me as intellectually dishonest of you to post the AP test scores from 2012 and not the most recent ones, which clearly show improvement. While I appreciate you explaining your reasoning behind posting the older data set and not the current one, if you do not have current comparative data from other districts, why bother posting this at all? It comes off, at least in my opinion, as an attempt to mislead your readers and disparage the school system.

    • Did you read the full post? We posted Timberlane’s improved AP scores! We could not obtain the comparative data from others because the districts would not release it to us. We are doing the best reporting we can in the face of resistant school districts who control the information. Rather than accuse me of dishonesty, try getting some facts on your own and see if you can do better. I am not being sarcastic or critical. I am genuinely challenging you to try yourself and see what you get…. unless you have the kind assistance of our administration who selectively chose which of our questions to answer.

      • Lou F

        Hi Donna. I did read the entire post, which I made clear in my first response. I am referring to the table you elected to post. While I understand you are attempting to do your best, both with your reporting and also at the job you were elected to perform for the town, I am merely questioning the need to go with a “visual” of AP data that is old and not current.

    • Bustmore Gas

      WELL SAID!

      • Cathy

        Perhaps Lou F and Bustmore Gas should share their research. Clear it must be more current. We could have a lively debate and come to an agreement since we ALL would like a Stellar EDU for the children in our District.
        I look forward to their contribution.

  3. Shawn

    Dear Fellow Readers,

    I will be taking signatures at Sandown town hall between 6PM and 6:45PM tonight in the main meeting room. Their are two petitions – but the main was is as follows:

    Shall the Voters of the Timberlane Regional School District raise and appropriate up to $602,528 for the continuing operation of Sandown Central Elementary School as an elementary school. This warrant will be
    void if Warrant Article, “Sandown Central Elementary School Operational Costs and Kitchen Renovation” passes.

    I am a strong believer that we need to keep the school open, do a proper analysis and then let the voters decide on how to handle a community school. I hope to see a few of you and thank you for your support.

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