BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater-Raritan students appear to be doing very well when it comes to college preparatory testing and subsequent admission into some of America’s leading universities, although there’s still room for improvement.

Assistant superintendent Daniel Silvia delivered part two of his annual report on student achievement at the Nov. 19 meeting of the Bridgewater-Raritan board of education.

Part two was about Bridgewater-Raritan High School students’ scores on Advanced Placement examinations, which are used to earn college credit while they are still in high school, along with scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT), two types of exams that are used in the college admissions process.

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The PowerPoint presentation will be made available on the school district website at www.brrsd.org.

In 2006, a total of 2,621 students in the district took AP exams, a number that increased to 2,818 students in 2018, and which has fluctuated up and down over the years.

Silvia also discussed AP Excellence reports, in which students earned a grade of “3” or higher on those tests. Some 303 students in the 10th grade achieved that in 2006, while 632 students in that grade did the same in 2019.

A total of 25.5 percent of 12th grade students achieved AP Excellence in 2006, which rose to 38.1 percent in that particular group in 2019.

“The numbers are fairly consistent,” said Silvia.

High school students in the district have taken AP exams in a variety of different subjects, including English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics, with physics having been broken up into different exams. They have also taken AP exams in social studies, business, and fine arts, plus tests in various foreign languages such as French, German, Italian, Spanish, Latin and Chinese.

“Our students have performed extremely well,” said Silvia.

In an NJ.com study from May 2019 that ranked the 50 New Jersey high schools with the best SAT test scores, Bridgewater-Raritan High School came in 34th with an average reading score of 607 and an average math score of 630. The max score was 800 in each area for the state and nation, and Silvia noted that some work is needed in the district in that regard.

Silvia also said that the reporting of ACT results has changed slightly. Higher percentages of local students are also reaching the benchmarks for scores on that exam.

In 2009, the number was 67 percent of Bridgewater-Raritan students who went on to college, a figure that rose to 71 percent in 2019.
Silvia’s report also looked at college attendance plans, broken down into segments, including application and admission to Ivy League schools, most competitive schools and highly competitive schools, although data is no longer available in that third category as of the past few years.

As an example of the state and national competition facing district students to gain entrance into the top U.S. colleges, 53 Bridgewater-Raritan pupils applied to Princeton University in 2019. Only two of those 53 applicants were accepted by the university, and neither one attended Princeton.

In addition, three members of the Class of 2019 enrolled at fellow Ivy League institution Yale University.

Board member Zachary Malek asked about self-reported data from students, such as those who joined the military rather than enrolled in college. Silvia replied that the data is not necessarily self-reported.