SHREWSBURY - Shrewsbury High School students continue to outscore their peers on standardized tests, the School Committee was told Wednesday night in reports on last year's scores.
Principal Todd Bazydlo and Nga Huynah, director of school counseling, presented the reports on the SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement and PSAT exam scores for the 2016-17 school year.
They said that because the SAT was redesigned, the latest scores are not directly comparable to the old SAT, but local students did much better than the national and state averages.
The standardized college admissions exam was overhauled last year, with the highest possible score being 1600, rather than 2400 as it had been for about a decade.
On the 1600 scale, Shrewsbury’s average SAT score of 1196 remained well above the state average of 1103 and the national average of 1070.
Ms. Huynah said 91 percent of last year’s seniors took the SAT, which is a significantly higher share than most other high schools in the state and in the country.
The ACT, another college admissions exam, which did not change, is not as popular in Massachusetts. Only 131 students in the Class of 2017, or 33 percent, took the test, which is scored on a scale of 1 to 36.
"Our scores have increased over the past couple of years," Ms. Huynh said. "We scored a 26, which is equivalent to about 1260 on the SATs."
Shrewsbury High School students are doing exceptionally well on Advanced Placement exams, Mr. Bazydlo said.
"Scored on a scale of 1 to 5, the average AP exam scores of Shrewsbury students are particularly impressive," Mr. Bazydlo noted.
The number of AP exams increased by 122 to 668 exams last year, and 68 more students took the exams than the previous year.
The average score for each of the 16 AP courses was above 3.1. And 10 of the 16 had an average score of 4 or above, he said. All the scores were above the state and national averages.
But the overall AP exam scores for Shrewsbury High School are trending down, Mr. Bazydlo pointed out. He said the number of students scoring 4 and 5 were higher in previous years.
"That being said, we’re still out performing peers. I don’t think we’re in panic mode, but it’s clearly something we’re aware of," he said.
Superintendent Joseph M. Sawyer said the various test scores "indicate we have a very healthy academic program at Shrewsbury High School."
Mr. Bazydlo said the district will continue to offer affordable, self-sufficient test preparation courses throughout the year. The district also will look to expand the opportunity for students to take AP courses and consider adding more courses.
The committee also discussed a draft of a "Portrait of a Graduate," which was created last spring. The document defines what is thought to be the most critical for students to know and be able to do by the time they graduate. The committee is expected to vote to approve the road map at its meeting Dec. 20.
A related discussion involved a draft of the five-year strategic priorities and goals for 2018-2022. The draft centers on four strategic priorities: space and resources to support effective learning, learning environment where everyone’s success matters, enhanced well-being of all, and connected learning for a complex world.
The School Committee is expected to vote on each proposal Dec. 20. In the meantime, feedback from the community is requested.