Parental involvement plays a major role for students who score well on standardized tests, say officials from all three Utah County school districts as they analyze the results of the Statewide Testing Program.

Like the rest of Utah, all Utah County schools scored lowest on language arts and English. Scores were highest in mathematics. Local schools - in the Alpine, Provo and Nebo districts - also did well in reading and science.Scores for Provo School District schools are some of the highest in the state, with only one elementary school scoring below the state average. Wasatch and Rock Canyon elementary schools scored more than 20 percentile points above the state average. Timpanogos Elementary School, which has 20 percent new students in the fifth grade, is the only school that scored well below the state average.

Both Provo junior high schools and both high schools scored above the state average, with Farrer Junior High scoring 14 points above and Timpview High School scoring 17 points abovethe state average.

"I think we have a good program," Superintendent Kay Laursen said. "Hopefully the standardized tests will reflect that. I think parental involvement makes a difference in education."

Alpine School District also did well, with most of its schools scoring above the state average. Barratt Elementary School scored higher than any school in the county, 27 percentile points higher than the state average. Scera and Cherry Hill elementary schools also scored high. Scores from Cedar Valley and Meadow elementary schools are some of the lowest in the county.

In Alpine's secondary grades, Orem High School scored the highest, at 11 percentile points above the state average. Lehi High School scored slightly below the state average, the only district high school to do so. Lakeridge Junior High School is the highest scoring junior high, and Pleasant Grove Junior High is the only junior high in the district to score below the state average.

"The positive scores are the result of three factors: excellent students, professional teachers and involved parents," Superintendent Steven Baugh said.

Most elementary schools in Nebo School District scored above the state average, but most of its secondary school scored below. Art City, Grant and Park View elementary schools scored the highest in the district at about 13 percentile points above the state average. Santaquin Elementary School is the district's lowest scoring school, 16 points below the state average.

Secondary schools in Payson and Spanish Fork scored below the state average. Both secondary schools in Springville scored slightly higher than the state average.

Nebo School Board members said the decline in test scores in the district's secondary grades may be related to the decrease in parental involvement in its secondary grades.

Local school officials are echoing the remarks of educators statewide and saying the test results do not indicate the quality of instruction. Many factors influence learning, and officials say using the results to compare schools is unfair.

However, as they say that, most officials are trying to find valid reasons for such a disparity in scores. Officials are using the test results to identify strengths and weaknesses and perhaps find ways to improve instruction.

Jan Lewis, an Alpine School Board member, said Alpine officials may want to see if schools that scored much higher in mathematics are using more effective teaching methods.

Larry Kimball, Nebo director of secondary education, said Nebo officials are seeking feedback about the results from each school. "We are hoping individual schools will have some ideas on how we can improve so that we can share with other schools."

In comparing scores from Utah County schools, the socioeconomic factor is inconsistent. Almost all officials believe the formula used for determining a school's expected score range is inaccurate. Jack Leifson, Nebo School District public relations specialist, compared a school's scores to the average income from people living in the city where the school is located.

"Judging by income alone I could not find any correlation," Leifson said.

Many believe rural schools would not score as well as schools located in more populated areas. In most cases that seems to be an accurate assessment. However, Goshen Elementary School outscored many of Nebo's other schools, and many of Provo's and Alpine's schools located in populated areas were outscored by schools located in more rural areas.

The test results may back up a study done by Brigham Young University that says year-round schools do not necessarily provide a better education. One of Provo's year-round schools, Westridge, scored well above the state average and near the top in the district. Provo's other year-round schools, Timpanogos, Joaquin and Sunset View, scored near or below the state average and at the bottom of the district. However, Alpine's three year-round schools, Bonneville, Orchard and Vineyard, all scored above the state average.

Scores for each school and individual students have been given to principals, who will use the scores to assist individual instruction. Individual student scores will be used for evaluation during parent-teacher conferences.

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(Additional information)

SAT Results

(National Norm 50)

Alpine School district

School Total Battery Expected Range

FIFTH GRADE

Alpine 62 46-73

Aspen 58 44-70

Barratt 80 45-72

Bonneville 61 44-70

Cascade 67 45-73

Cedar Valley 29 36-62

Central 51 35-60

Cherry Hill 76 41-68

Forbes 59 40-68

Geneva 64 37-63

Greenwood 47 37-63

Grovecrest 54 44-70

Highland 66 46-74

Hillcrest 66 41-69

Lehi 50 39-66

Lindon 53 44-70

Manila 62 44-70

Meadow 33 41-69

Northridge 66 46-73

Orchard 63 45-72

Orem 63 45-72

Scera 77 41-69

Sego Lily 44 40-68

Sharon 67 37-63

Shelley 63 43-69

Suncrest 58 40-68

Valley View 61 44-70

Vineyard 64 41-69

Westmore 48 40-67

Windsor 60 38-64

EIGHTH GRADE

American Fork 57 42-64

Canyon View 60 42-64

Lakeridge 63 40-63

Lehi 57 39-61

Pleasant Grove 50 40-63

ELEVENTH GRADE

American Fork 56 38-63

Lehi 52 37-63

Mountain View 58 38-63

Orem 64 38-63

Pleasant Grove 57 37-62

PROVO SCHOOL DISTRICT

Fifth Grade

Edgemont 69 44-70

Canyon Crest 59 44-72

Franklin 54 27-52

Grandview 62 38-64

Joaquin 54 25-48

Maeser 56 25-48

Provost 67 36-62

Rock Canyon 75 40-67

Sunset 53 38-64

Timpanpogos 37 27-51

Wasatch 77 38-64

Westridge 72 37-62

EIGHTH GRADE

Farrer 65 38-60

Dixon 56 34-56

ELEVENTH GRADE

Timpview 70 37-61

Provo 60 34-58

Independence* 17 28-53

*Alternative School

NEBO SCHOOL DISTRICT

FIFTH GRADE

Art City 68 43-69

Barnett 59 37-63

Brockbank 61 40-67

Brookside 46 37-62

Goshen 58 33-59

Grant 67 35-60

Larson 51 41-69

Mapleton 55 43-69

Park 63 37-62

Park View 66 35-60

Rees 55 33-59

Sage Creek 63 40-68

Salem 60 41-69

Santaquin 37 32-58

Taylor 59 33-59

Westside 50 37-63

Wilson 52 37-62

EIGHTH GRADE

Payson 44 37-59

Spanish Fork 43 39-61

Springville 53 40-63

ELEVENTH GRADE

Payson 47 37-61

Spanish Fork 47 37-63

Springville 56 38-64

AVERAGE SCORES

District 5th grade 8th grade 11th grade

Alpine 61 57 58

Provo 63 60 64

Nebo 55 55 51

UTAH 53 51 53