Extra Chances for Success: Forestville High Helps Lift SAT Scores

Article excerpt

Forestville High School junior Anna Martin grimaces over geometry.

But she knows she has to learn it - no matter what - to do well on the tests she must take to get into college next year.

So every other day Anna trades her 40-minute lunch period in a cafeteria for lunch in a classroom, where she studies math.

The lunch-time tutoring session is just one of many ways Forestville High is beefing up its efforts to help students prepare for the Scholastic Assessment Tests, or SAT. It's an effort the school is crediting with raising the school's overall performance on the test, which is used to help determine who gets into most colleges and universities.

Anna, 16, is one of many students at Forestville who have taken advantage of the extra help so college can become a reality and not a dream.

"If you want to get better, you can't just say you want to get better," Anna said this week after acing two practice geometry questions posed to a group of students during lunch by math teacher Judith Naugle.

The extra classes and time devoted to improving the scores have paid off for the high school, said Kenneth Youngert, the school's test coordinator.

Last year the school improved its SAT average 60 points to 796, the biggest increase among Prince George's County's 20 public high schools. The SAT is based on a 1,600 scale, 800 for math and 800 for verbal.

Average SAT scores at county high schools last year ranged from 740 to 1,068.

"We were the lowest in the county," Mr. Youngert said. "We are not the lowest any longer.

"We're hoping to do the same this year."

Janice Briscoe, Forestville's dean of academic and student affairs, said the marked improvement is an accomplishment for a high school where 90 percent of the students' parents did not go to college. …