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Class of 2022: Highest SAT Average in the History of the School

From the beginning to the end of each day, it all boils down to the students, doesn’t it? The student experience, students overcoming challenges, student growth and leadership. What these incredible kids do everyday is what draws me and my colleagues to the life of being an educator. Students are intrinsically resilient, partially because they are young and tough and partially because so much of what they do, and are encouraged to do by teachers, is be forward-thinking.

Whether it was designing, presenting, and leading a phenomenal Common Hour program this Wednesday on thrifting and the importance of not letting our acquisition and care of clothing cause unnecessary harm to the planet or attending and rallying at a youth press conference today at the statehouse in Montpelier, bringing pressure to bear on government officials and the adult community at large in Vermont to fight the climate crisis, our students are thinking about and acting for the future. It would be both well and wise to listen to them and follow their lead, as they strive to bring the work of COP26 to the ground here, where the actual change must occur. From getting our Green Mountain Power energy for our building through their solar plan to keeping the thermostats low in winter and high in summer, from composting and recycling on the back end and trying always to reduce on the front end, Vermont Commons has a heritage and culture as a green school. But we too must keep seeking to do more to meet the necessary climate goals. The Climate Club is taking this challenge head on.

On another note regarding great student work, you may have seen the buzz on test scores this week in the press. As an independent school, our students generally don’t take the standardized tests to which these recent articles are referring. But we certainly shared the anxiety last year of what would happen to learning in the deep, ongoing disruption the pandemic was to every student everywhere, the students in our charge in particular. That’s why we tirelessly sought to design, revise, update, and implement the best plan possible regarding their education, all along hoping that we were making the right move, acutely aware of how important it was to fulfill our school‘s uniquely college-preparatory mission of Scholarship, to fulfill our promise to you. We’ve known all along that the proof would be in the pudding, so to speak, and we have just started to get the first glimpses of the results. An enormous public debate continues regarding the validity of the SAT, along with the validity of the other state standardized tests under scrutiny in the press this week, and we participate in that debate and share the discomfort and scrutiny of the SAT, ACT, and others–it’s among the reasons that we don’t tie our curriculum and faculty to the College Board’s AP program. We’ve read the well-established data that demonstrates the SAT’s bias around race, gender, and class as well as its inability to predict future academic success (it turns out the best indicator of future academic success is current and historical academic success). In short, we certainly don’t believe the SAT is the be-all, end-all. Perhaps all a score on the SAT can truly tell is how well one can do taking the SAT. But as a year-by-year comparison on that last metric–when we look at how well we’ve done on the SAT this year compared to how we’ve done on the SAT last year and in the years before, it can serve as an internal benchmark or indicator for us, particularly helping to answer the question of whether or not we had a measurable, major loss in learning last year due to our pandemic-responsive academic program.

So you can imagine our surprise when last week our Seniors’ fall SAT scores came back:

  • The Class of ’22, it turns out, holds the highest SAT average in the history of the school:  1435
  • With a Verbal mean of 736 and a Math mean of 699!

A testimony to the work of these students and their teachers, despite last year’s immense challenges. And isn’t that what challenges such as the climate crises call for–students who roll up their sleeves, get to work, and remain undaunted? If the Class of 2022 and the other classes to follow are any indication, hope in the future is well founded.

Scholarship. Community. Global Responsibility.

At Vermont Commons School, our goal is to engage students with their world. We achieve this through programs and a curriculum grounded in local and global involvement.