BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ - Ridge students received a positive response for 64 percent of the college applications they sent out during the last school year, a year during which the standardized SAT scores were up to their highest level in five years, according to a report before the Bernards Township Board of Education on Monday night.

Jillian Shadis, supervisor of guidance at Ridge, presented the post secondary education report, a summation of figures from the 2013-14 school year. The full report was to be posted in the following day or so on the Bernards Township Board of Education website.

Counting all of the college-placement Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) taken during by juniors and seniors in the previous school year, Shadis said the median score for Ridge students was 577 in reading, a 9-point increase from the previous year (2012-13); 611 in math, a 14-point increase; and 585 in the writing section of the test, a 12-point increase.

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Assistant Schools Superintendent Sean Siet said the scores are highest they've been in five years.

Shadis said during the report that there has been a trend lately for students to test themselves beforehand on the SAT and ACT (American College Testing), another college-placement test, and then to focus on doing well on the test on which they show greater strenths.

In response to a board member's question, she said that the number of students taking the SAT has declined slightly because more students are taking the ACT alone. In previous years, students were more likely to take both tests if they decided to sit for the ACT.

However, Shadis noted during the report that more colleges are becoming "test optional" when it comes to relying on standardized test scores. 

This past year, she said about 360 students sat for the SAT tests, while about 340 took the ACT.

Ridge graduated 444 students in June 2014, and more than 96 percent headed on to college, according to the report.

Shadis also reported that more colleges are setting earlier recommended deadlines for applications, and 90 percent of seniors faced application deadlines of Nov. 1 or earlier. She also said that college admission offices indicated they are less interested in letters of recommendations submitted with college applications than in years past.