Weast orders improved SATs

Feb. 11, 2002, midnight | By Nina Feinberg | 18 years, 11 months ago

Principal, teachers see target scores as unreasonable

Principal Phillip Gainous found a directive from MCPS Superintendent Jerry Weast to be unrealistic in mandating that SAT scores increase to above 1100 for students with scores between 800 and 990.

Weast's announcement came three weeks before the Oct 12 SAT test date and included a short-term objective to raise scores for that SAT test. Weast also implied that the objective would remain in place in the future, Gainous said.

Gainous received Weast's directive from MCPS Deputy Superintendent James Williams at a meeting the week of Sept 15 that was attended by several other principals, including those from all operating high schools in the future Downcounty Consortium: Blair, Einstein, Kennedy and Wheaton.

Gainous believes Weast's goals for the Oct 12 administration of the SAT were not realistic because of the short time period between the meeting with Williams and the SAT date.

While Williams did not indicate consequences for failure to comply with the mandate, Gainous noted tension regarding the issue. "Did it feel like we had pressure? Yes," Gainous said.
Williams stressed that the directive "was a priority for the Superintendent and that it was a real pressing issue," said Gainous.

Weast was unavailable for comment, and his spokesperson was unaware of the existence of the directive.

Following the method outlined in Weast's proposal, Blair identified 63 students with scores between 800 and 990 and implemented math and English department programs that targeted those students.

The English department developed an SAT buddies system, said English resource teacher Vickie Adamson. Targeted students were paired with an English teacher who taught them SAT strategies.

Students from math teacher Eric Walstein's Multivariable Calculus Analysis II class tutored targeted students in SAT math.
Walstein feels that presumed failure to meet Weast's goal also lies in the unwillingness of students to work to raise their scores. In one tutoring session, he said only two students attended. "With attitudes like that, it's hard to affect a major change," he said.

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Nina Feinberg. Nina Feinberg is a CAP senior who enjoys <i>Silver Chips</i> almost as much as she enjoys pie. Mmmm, pie. More »

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