NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – New Providence students continue to outscore their peers at the state and national levels in standardized tests. Jay Richter, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision provided a power point assessment report regarding the recent test results as well as the testing trends at the Tuesday, Nov. 27 Board of Education (BOE) meeting.
New Providence students achieved an average SAT score of 1222 this year, while the state and national average SAT score was 1094 and 1067 respectively. The 2017 scores featured a similar breakdown. The maximum SAT score is 1600.
The average ACT score among New Providence test takers was 26.7 in 2018, a slight improvement up from 25.9 the previous year. Meanwhile the average state and national scores were 23.7 and 20.8 in 2018 respectively. The maximum ACT score is 36 and it includes sections of English Language Arts, Math and Science. New Providence students outperformed their peers at the state and national level in all sections in both 2017 and 2018.
Richter noted that the ACT test is gaining popularity among New Providence students while SAT test participation is declining. He pointed out that a number of students are taking both tests. In 2018 79.2 percent of New Providence students took the SAT test and 58.5 percent the ACT test. In comparison 93 percent of the students took SAT test and only 33.5 percent took the ACT test four years ago in 2014. Richter explained that the ACT test has been common in the Midwest and southern states while the SAT has been the default test for the east coast. However, most colleges accept scores from both tests. High School Principal Lauren Zirpoli explained that the ACT test concurs with the current district curriculum while the SAT is more of an aptitude test.
A majority of New Providence students are also enrolled in AP courses and are taking the AP Exams. In 2017 and 2018 76 and 74 percent of students respectively fell into that category. In 2018 students took 322 AP Exams and 290 tests resulted in a passing score of 3, 4 or 5. The passing rate has been consistent over the last few years, Richter said. Furthermore, approximately half of the students taking AP Exams qualify for one of the AP Scholar designations. These achievements show the strength of the programs offered in New Providence, he added.
In 2018 30 out of 155 students (19 %) taking AP Exams received AP Scholar recognition with a score of 3 or higher on three or more exams. A total of 16 students out of 155 received AP Scholar with Honor recognition. These students scored 3 or higher on four or more exams. Furthermore, 23 students (15 %) earned an average score of 3.5 on all AP exams taken, and scored a 3 or higher on five exams. They received AP Scholar with Distinction recognition. There were three students who were named National AP Scholars and they earned an average score of at least 4 on all exams taken, and scored a 4 or higher on eight exams.
This year 10 students were named National Merit Scholars based on their PSAT scores received in their junior year. One student also became a National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist. Only 16,000 of the 50,000 highest PSAT scores qualify as semi-finalists.
The district’s Project Lead The Way (PLTW) courses include Introduction to Engineering and Principles of Engineering, both of which have been offered for three years. The two other PLTW courses are Aerospace Engineering and Environmental Sustainability, both of which are on their second year. Students have an option to be tested on these subjects. The PLTW are honors level courses, which have been offered as a result of the growing K-12 STEM curriculum as well as students’ interest in STEM courses, Richter explained.
The continued strong performance of New Providence in SAT, ACT and AP tests demonstrate their college readiness, Richter said.