By Bob Weaver

SAT-9 scores in ninth grade have been dropping the past two out of three years at Calhoun High School. The score sheet indicates relatively high scoring for eighth graders previous to their entering the ninth grade. Former Calhoun High principal Greg Cartwright, who is now serving as the Director of Curriculum, said the ninth grade scores were the lowest in the county, and slightly below the national norm.

Cartwright said it is unlikely Calhoun High will be placed on probation because of low test scores in selected areas. Last week Kanawha County schools, already in trouble and on probation with SAT-9 testing, had 13 schools showing poor results.

"Comparing this years scores to the same grade level last year, also reveals that fourth, sixth and eleventh grade scores went down," he said. The ninth grade scores have dropped below the 50% baseline to 47 and 49 in 1998-99 and 2000-01. Other grades showed considerable improvement.

Calhoun's students in grades three and seven showed the highest science scores of all West Virginia counties.

The administrator said test scores reflect a number of variables that may be different from one group to another. "It is counter-productive for the school system to fix blame, but rather to seek methods of improvement," he said.

Cartwright said "Scores overall are not dropping, and we are continuing to review the data and are continuing to try and improve the scores in all areas." He said there is no clear-cut patterns of decline obvious in the data.

Cartwright said SAT-9 scores are currently very important in West Virginia, and are linked to accreditation. They also become part of a student's permanent record and are used in assessing individual progress. "Ultimately they determine if the student is granted warranty or advanced warranty at graduation."

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