LIVINGSTON, NJ — Based on a presentation given at Monday’s Livingston Board of Education (LBOE) meeting about how Livingston Public Schools (LPS) students fared on the nationally distributed standardized tests, this year’s results determined that Livingston students consistently outperform their peers both in New Jersey and across the United States.
Delving into the results for Advanced Placement (AP) testing, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SATs) and the American College Testing assessments (ACT) on Monday were Natalie Topylko, LPS Director of Curriculum & Instruction – STEM and Testing, Data Assessment and Accountability, and Livingston High School (LHS) Assistant Principal Danielle Rosenzweig.
“We continue to be impressed by the students and their AP scores,” said Rosenzweig, adding that the number of students opting to take an AP test has been increasing every year.
In 2019, there was a 5-percent uptick over the prior year in the number of Livingston students who sat for an AP exam, she said.
She also noted that the number of students receiving a passing grade of 3 or higher (with a total possible score of 5) also continues to increase each year. According to Rosenzweig, many colleges consider a score of 3 or above to be a “mastery-level” score and often allow students to receive college credit in the subject area for which they’ve received that score.
“It’s important to point this out because typically when you increase your number of test takers you would expect a decrease in the scores, but that’s not the case here in Livingston,” she said.
In fact, 717 of the 745 students who were enrolled in an AP class at LHS signed up to take 1,693 tests.
Of those enrolled, 91.5 percent (656 test takers) received a score of 3 or higher, while 69 percent received a score of 4 or higher. Of that group, 338 students were recognized as AP Scholars with an average score of 4.34 out of 5.
When it came to the SAT scores within the district, LPS students also significantly bested their out-of-district peers.
“The real story with the SATs is the increase that we enjoy over the New Jersey and national scores,” said Topylko. “This is something that’s continued over time.”
On sections dedicated to evidence-based reading and writing, LPS students pulled a mean score of 616 compared to their New Jersey and National counterparts at 544 and 545, respectively. Similarly, LPS students received a mean score of 645 in mathematics versus the 531 and 528 mean scores achieved by New Jersey and national students.
From 2017 to 2018, the reading and writing score increased from 611 to 624 before slightly dipping in 2019, whereas the mathematics scores steadily increased from 624 in 2017 to 642 in 2018 and 645 in 2019.
Although the national scores for the ACT tests are currently unavailable, Rosenzweig and Topylko announced that LPS students performed significantly better, across-the-board, than other students in the state in areas of College English Composition, College Algebra, College Social Studies and College Biology.
The ACTs assesses whether students meet college readiness standards in these fundamental areas of study. Overall, LPS students met all four ACT benchmarks 65 percent of the time, whereas New Jersey students did so only 47 percent of the time.
To access the full presentation, click here.
The next LBOE meeting will be held at Heritage Middle School at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18, and is open to the public.