After First Classes, CSAT Reports Score Improvements
The nonprofit group, which was formed by borough residents to help improve the SAT scores of Collingswood High School graduates, says its first class of enrollees did well.
Early results are in from the first class of the Collingswood SAT prep program (CSAT), and, according to program founder John Kilgannon, there’s a lot for students and supporters of CSAT to be excited about.
Although he was reluctant to read too much quantitatively into the impact of the first round of test scores, Kilgannon did provide some data on the 21 students who completed the inaugural, eight-week course through a press release and subsequent email to Patch on behalf of CSAT.
The average SAT score of a CSAT student was 1580 (out of 2400), which Kilgannon points out is 72 points above the state average (1508) and 147 points above the average score of students at Collingswood High School (CHS).
Student performance improvements were measured against their prior attempts at an actual SAT test, not a practice exam, and ranged from 0 to 190 points. CSAT reports that 80 percent of students who had taken the SATs prior to the class reported score increases; 31 percent enjoyed at least a 140-point jump.
“For the most part, the lower scores on our range were from students who started the class with above-average SAT scores,” Kilgannon wrote. “In other words, it proved difficult to make significant improvement on a 1700.
"Alternatively, the higher, triple-digit increases were primarily from students who started out with lower scores,” he wrote.
CSAT is funded by private donations from Collingswood residents. Its stated mission is to help CHS graduates get into college by improving their standardized test scores.
Kilgannon had no immediate information about the college application results of CSAT students and whether any score improvements earned through CSAT course instruction may have helped them gain admission to the colleges of their choice.
“Frankly, beyond the analysis of the cold, hard numbers, I think the real story is the students,” Kilgannon wrote. “We saw a group of Collingswood High School students come into class on Sundays (in several instances for a four-hour practice test) and after school and sports on school nights to better themselves.
“Suffice it to say, we are incredibly grateful that these kids honored their commitment and worked very hard,” he wrote.
CSAT workshops will be offered to members of the current CHS junior class beginning in January 2013. The group also plans to offer individualized instruction next year, according to its press release, from “members of the Collingswood community with significant experience in SAT instruction,” who will help review student practice test scores throughout the course.
“We believe that this additional feature will further strengthen our classes and overall student performance,” said CSAT board member Jamie Reynolds, according to the statement.
What's at stake
The latest New Jersey state report card showed that in addition to coming in below state average numbers for the SAT, Collingswood High School students test worse than students at other area high schools, including Haddon Heights, Audubon and Haddon Township.
Moreover, in the 2010-11 school year, only 65 percent of CHS seniors even took the SAT. If that sounds low, it’s still up from 51 percent in 2009-10 and 44 percent in 2008-09.
Other meaningful data: roughly 14 percent of the class of 2010-11 did not graduate, and of those 140 graduates of the Class of 2012 attending college, 73 plan to attend Camden County College this fall.