Some of our students have been awaiting the results of their PSAT exams...these are the warm-ups to the SAT, the initial qualifying exam for National Merit Scholar recognition, and access to an amazing online tool for college information. All 10th graders in Oregon were scheduled to take them in October...not many schools will publish the results.
29 Corbett Charter 10th Graders took the exams, and their average scores were in the 67th percentile in Reading, 64th in math, and 72nd in Writing. (Average scores are, by definition, the 50th percentile). So when compared to all 10th graders nationally, the average Corbett Charter School score was roughly among the top one-third. That's fairly impressive, but this is Corbett! Because we love a challenge, shouldn't we compare them instead to the 11th graders around the nation who took the exam? Fewer 11th graders take the PSAT...11th grade is the year that taking the exam actually puts one in competition for National Merit Scholarship. So the bar is higher. And the students are a year further along. How did we do?
Corbett Charter's 10th Graders, when compared to the nation's 11th graders, posted an average score that was in the 52nd percentile...two clicks above the nation's 11th graders...just a year ahead-of-time. But let's face it, some of our students put more into it than others.
The top half of Corbett's 10th grade class posted an average that was in the 75th percentile nationally...still running neck and neck with students a year more advanced!
And the top third of the class? The 86th percentile...right about what one would expect if they were a year older! Our top 10%? They managed to squeeze into the top 6% among this year's Juniors nationally.
In all, a breathtaking performance, and evidence that challenging every single student to the utmost of his or her ability only makes good educational sense.
But a question remains: What does one do with a year's head start? Because that's what we're describing...a Sophomore class that performs like Juniors around the country. Time to coast? Be conservative and 'protect our lead'? We don't think so. Time to double up! Time to get to work. It's true that the heart of education shouldn't be competition...I believe it. But there is that one slice of life, when you are sitting at school waiting to hear back from the college of your dreams, when it sure feels like a competition. Admissions officers and scholarship committees are making decisions that look pretty competitive. So for the purest scholar, the one who cares only for knowledge and understanding, competition is part of the game for at least a few months. And since it is there, it seems only wise to win.
So to the Class of 2013, three things: Happy New Year! Congratulations on a job well done! Oh, and, Back to work!