NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – New Providence High School Students continue to outperform their peers in standardized testing at both state and national levels. Jay Richter, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision, gave his second assessment report at the Thursday, Nov. 14 Board of Education (BOE) meeting. Richter’s October report consisted of PARCC and other testing assessments in the entire district. The latest report provided an overview of SAT, ACT and AP test scores in 2018-2019.
The New Providence students had an average SAT score of 1235 out of max 1600 in 2019. The score was slightly higher than in the two previous years. In comparison the average state and national score in 2019 was 1090 and 1059 respectively. In 2019 the students achieved an average SAT Language Arts section score of 612, and Math section score of 623. Again, both scores were significantly higher than the state and national averages.
The students also performed well on the ACT tests scoring an average 27.6 out of the max score of 36 in 2019. The average score marked an improvement compared to the two last years with the average scores registering 26.7 in 2018 and 25.9 in 2017. The national and state ACT averages in 2019 were 20.7 and 24.2 respectively. With regard to individual ACT sections New Providence test takers scored 27.9 in English, 27.2 in Reading, 28 in Math and 27 in Science in 2019. The Math score of 28 was higher than average scores in nearby similar districts. On average New Providence students posted similar scores than the students in the peer districts.
In the ACT college readiness benchmark comparison New Providence students show a rising trend. Richter explained that the benchmarks are the minimum ACT scores required for students to succeed in first-year college courses. In all testing areas (English, Mathematics, Reading and Science) 80 percent of New Providence students made the benchmark compared to 47 percent in the state in 2019. A total of 97 percent and 94 percent of New Providence test takers met the benchmark in English and Math respectively. A total of 86 percent of New Providence students reached the benchmark in both Reading and Science. Richter noted the improving trend in meeting the benchmark during the five-year period reflects the district’s strong curricula. Superintendent David Miceli explained that in 2015 the district adopted its five-year strategic planning cycle that included curriculum updates with a stronger focus on Math and Science courses.
The ACT test has gained more popularity, although fewer students took the ACT test in 2019 than in 2018 and 2017, Richter said. In 2019 a total of 77.8 percent of New Providence students took the SAT test and 46.2 percent took the ACT test. Richter pointed out that many colleges are becoming test optional which may affect the test taking trends. He also noted that starting in 2020 students may retake only a section of the ACT test.
Furthermore, Richter explained that those students that take AP-tests are well-prepared and approximately 90 percent of the New Providence test takers reach the passing score of 3, 4 or 5. Of the New Providence test takers 56 percent qualified for AP Scholar Recognition in 2019. A total of 29 students (or 21 percent) received the AP Scholar Recognition and 26 students (of 18 percent) received AP Scholar with Distinction Recognition. Nine students who scored at least 4 on all exams taken, and scored 4 or higher on eight of these tests, were recognized as National AP Scholars.
Students taking the “Project Lead the Way“ (PLTW) courses (Aerospace Engineering, Environmental Sustainability, Introduction to Engineering Design, and Principles of Engineering) also excelled in their respective tests.
In 2019 New Providence had five students recognized as National Merit Commended Scholars, one as a finalist and one as a National Merit Scholarship winner.