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SAT SCORES DECLINE AT ACCLAIMED CRESCENTA VALLEY HIGH.

Byline: Jennifer Hamm Staff Writer

GLENDALE - Crescenta Valley High School, one of the country's top high schools, saw a sharp drop in SAT college entrance scores, according to results released Tuesday.

Students at the recent National Blue Ribbon Award winner fell 23 points in verbal scores and had an 18-point decline in math scores.

``This one really broadsided me,'' said Crescenta Valley High Co-Principal Linda Evans.

In the middle of the city's most affluent community, Crescenta Valley High officials usually have plenty of cause to brag. Last year, the high- achieving students scored a school record for National Merit Semi-Finalists awards and boasted the top Advanced Placement pass rate in the district.

But the drop in Scholastic Assessment Test scores left educators wondering what went wrong.

School officials said they were expecting some decline in scores because of the increased number of students taking the test. The school had 11 percent more students taking the test over the previous year and 71 percent increase in the last seven years.

An additional factor may be that the number of English-language learners is growing at Crescenta Valley, said Donald Empey, Glendale Unified's assistant superintendent. In the last eight years, the number of limited English speakers has increased only slightly from 260 to 283, according to district statistics. But the number of students who have made a transition to English from their first language has more than doubled, from 344 to 743.

``The reality is CV is beginning to reflect the diversity that is in our society and as such, we may see a change in their verbal scores,'' said board member Chuck Sambar, who was an administrator at Crescenta Valley for 15 years.

Glendale's other two high schools - Hoover and Glendale - have long contended with high numbers of limited English speakers. Those schools have as much as five times the number of limited English speakers as Crescenta Valley.

But while Hoover High had the largest increase in the number of students taking the test districtwide, the score decline wasn't as dramatic as at Crescenta Valley. Hoover students fell 16 points in verbal and 8 points in math scores.

Like all other district high schools, Hoover High educators have pushed to get more students to sign up for the SAT, a standardized test used by most colleges and universities to determine admission.

Hoover High Co-Principal Pamela Good said the school has used grant money to offer after-school and weekend tutoring to help students increase their SAT scores. Such programs are targeted for those who are are not traditional honors students but have the potential to attend college.

``These are the kids that have the lower SAT scores,'' Good said. ``We're going to really focus in on getting these kids prepared.''

Though Crescenta Valley is not eligible for the same grants that Hoover has secured, Evans said tackling the SAT score dip is among her top priorities this fall.

``We weren't happy with this year's drop, and it's one thing that the faculty is going to address first semester,'' Evans said.

Glendale school officials were quick to point out Tuesday that most of their scores soar above the state and national average. Verbal scores at Glendale and Hoover, however, still lag behind the averages.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 30, 2000
Words:540
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