Achievement tests in schools are not new. But the 1990 landmark statewide tests, because their results have been widely disseminated, have provided a forum for discussing school performance, said Davis School Superintendent Rich Kendell.

"They have created an occasion to get more parents into their schools," Kendell said. His district will capitalize on that interest to encourage more productive school-home relationships.Davis students performed well overall, with average percentile scores of 52 in fifth grade; 56 in eighth grade and 55 in 11th grade, compared with 53, 51 and 53, respectively, at the state level. The national norm is 50 in all instances.

Like their counterparts throughout the Wasatch Front, the Davis students did poorly on language and English tests. The fifth-graders scored at the 48th percentile; eighth- and 11th-graders at 45. Low scores in the language arts have characterized the 1990 results.

Davis scored particularly well in math at the elementary level, in the 60th percentile. Other fifth-grade subject scores were: reading, 53; science, 52; and social science, 55.

At the eighth-grade level, scores other than language included: reading, 55; math, 53; science 53; and social science 56.

The 11th-grade scores for reading and science were strong at 58 and 60 respectively. Others were math, 54; and social science, 56.

Although district scores were above the national norm, 14 Davis elementary schools and two junior high schools scored below the expected range. The expectancies were developed by the Utah State Office of Education by factoring in the number of children on free or reduced-price lunch or whose families are receiving state Aid to Dependent Children. Low socioeconomic status is a risk factor for lower scores, but not the only one. High mobility and lack of parental involvement also can affect a school's scores.

Davis High School in Kaysville scored two points above the expected range. Two junior high schools also outperformed the expectations - Kaysville by three percentile points and Farmington by one.

Kendell said the district has already started studying the scores at individual schools in detail, particularly those that scored below expectancies, to determine where they are weak and to look for solutions.

"But we're going slow in jumping to conclusions," he said.

The presence of Hill Air Force Base in the center of the district has an effect, he said. Turnover of students at schools near the base creates another factor that lowers scores. At Clearfield High School, for instance, as many as 350 students may leave the school in a year's time, to be replaced by others.

Many things can affect a school's performance, including such hard-to-measure items as the strength of the principal, teacher time on task and how closely the school is adhering to the state's core curriculum, he said. Sometimes the schools themselves are not aware of variations in their styles.

Kendell said he would try to influence the Utah Legislature to put more resources into schools where low scores are predictable.

"There has to be more money for at-risk kids," Kendell said.

The statewide test results will allow educators to "discuss more openly" how the problems should be addressed, he said. Some schools already receive additional federal funds to help educate at-risk students, but more effective ways should be found to make that money count.

Concentrating on reading and math foundations during the early grades in schools with high populations of at-risk students could be one solution, he said.

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SAT Results

(National norm 50)

Davis School District

School Total Battery

Expected Range

Adams 66 48-76

Adelaide 66 43-69

Antelope 29 33-59

Boulton 63 47-74

Bountiful 70 44-71

Burton 63 46-73

Centerville 61 44-71

Clinton 30 44-71

Columbia 60 47-75

Cook 54 43-69

Crestview 39 40-67

Doxey 25 40-68

East Layton 47 48-76

Farmington 64 46-74

Fremont 41 40-68

Hill Field 32 40-67

Holbrook 62 44-71

Holt 41 43-69

Kaysville 54 45-72

King 46 44-70

Knowlton 64 48-76

Layton 37 40-67

Lincoln 36 40-67

Meadowbrook 45 38-64

Monte Vista 50 48-76

Morgan 70 46-73

Muir 60 46-74

Oak Hills 66 45-73

Orchard 54 43-69

Reading 59 50-77

S. Clearfield 33 35-61

S. Weber 50 45-73

Stewart 62 47-75

Sunset 36 40-68

Syracuse 38 43-69

Taylor 52 46-74

Tolman 60 44-70

Vae View 45 40-68

Valley View 72 47-75

Wasatch 29 30-55

Washington 68 39-66

W. Bountiful 36 45-73

W. Clinton 40 43-69

W. Point 53 46-73

Whitesides 44 36-61

Woods Cross 56 44-70

EIGHTH GRADE

Bountiful 60 42-64

Centerville 62 45-68

Central Davis 53 42-64

Farmington 69 45-68

Kaysville 70 44-67

Millcreek 63 43-65

Mueller Park 67 45-68

N. Davis 37 38-60

N. Layton 47 43-65

S. Davis 53 43-65

Sunset 44 42-64

Syracuse 43 44-67

ELEVENTH GRADE

Bountiful 65 41-66

Clearfield 41 38-64

Davis 67 41-65

Layton 51 39-64

Mountain* 13 *

Viewmont 61 39-65

Weber Basin* 8 *

Woods Cross 58 39-64

Average Scores

District Average State Average

Fifth 52 53

Eighth Grade 56 51

Eleventh Grade 55 53

*Special program

* No predicted score