WJ SAT scores tick up amid countywide drop


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Jeffrey Cirillo, Co-Online News Editor

As average SAT scores county and nationwide dropped last year, WJ’s average SAT score bucked the trend, rising slightly from 1747 to 1749. This makes WJ one of only four high schools in Montgomery County with a rise in SAT scores in the 2014-2015 school year. The others are Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Northwest and Gaithersburg.

WJ is now ranked fourth in Montgomery County based on its average SAT scores, which remain considerably higher than the county, state and national averages.

WJ English teacher Cachanda Orellana, who also teaches an SAT preparation course, said the countywide and nationwide drop may be related to the test’s sliding popularity.

“A lot of students are choosing to take the ACT as opposed to the SAT,” Orellana said. “I can’t say that is why they are seeing the lower scores, but it definitely plays a part.”

Two years ago, the College Board, which administers the SAT, announced an overhaul of the test in response to its sagging popularity. The changes will bring the test more in line with the ACT, a competing college preparedness assessment. The College Board will begin administering the new SAT in March 2016.

As for why WJ’s scores held steady amid this nationwide turmoil, Orellana suggested that our school could be one of the few that isn’t ready to give up on the SAT just yet.

“As a school, we are geared more towards the SAT because we offer SAT prep [as a course],” Orellana said. “We don’t offer ACT prep.”

Ultimately, however, Orellana said that there is only one group that can take the credit for rising SAT scores: and it isn’t the teachers.

“I don’t feel confident enough to say that anyone in the building deserves credit [for the uptick in SAT scores] — other than the students,” Orellana said.

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