Bucking the trend

Kootenai County students perform better than rest of state on SAT

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COEUR d'ALENE - Students in Kootenai County were the exception to a statewide trend of lower Scholastic Aptitude Test scores in 2015.

As a state, Idaho's high school juniors and seniors had a 1,353 average on the SAT, with lower math scores being the primary reason for the drop of 10 points from the 2014 averages. But all three school districts in Kootenai County outperformed the averages - the Lakeland Joint School District averaged a 1,470, the Coeur d'Alene School District averaged a 1,432, and the Post Falls School District averaged a 1,406.

Conrad Underdahl, principal of Lakeland High School, told The Press Wednesday that there are a number of reasons his students had some of the highest scores in a high-scoring region.

"One is the culture that exists at Lakeland. Students, parents and our staff are committed to student success," he said. "Secondly, we stress that all students need to pursue post-secondary education to be competitive in our society."

More than 16,500 students took the SAT at 196 schools throughout Idaho on April 15, a press release from the Idaho Department of Education states. Each year, the April date is known as "SAT Day" - a day where the state pays student testing fees in an effort to encourage high school juniors to take the exam.

The college entrance exam assesses students on critical reading, mathematics and writing skills, and is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors who intend to continue their education after graduation.

"First of all, we need to give credit to our outstanding student body," said Shannon Hall, an English teacher at Lakeland High School. "Our students realize the value of obtaining a quality education, and they take advantage of the academic opportunities we offer at LHS."

Hall also recognized the efforts of her colleagues, stating that the high school has an experienced staff that has "the knowledge and skills needed to lead students on the best path for educational achievement."

Jerry Keane, Post Falls School District superintendent, told The Press Wednesday that, while the SAT is just one measure of a student's readiness for college or the workforce, the district is happy with the results.

"I think that our emphasis on higher-order thinking and a well-balanced curriculum ultimately help our student performance and preparedness," Keane said. "It appears that our student preparedness leads to more students continuing their education."

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