An initial comparison of Stanford-9 test scores between exams administered in the spring of 2001 and spring 2002 at the Kingman Academy of Learning may not look good.
Scores dipped this past spring among students in four of seven classes for math and language, and in five of seven classes for reading.
However, academy director Betty Rowe has looked beyond that comparison.
"Our math scores are among the highest for the county, state and nation," she said.
"In second grade, we did an exceptional job in math at the 63rd percentile, but fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades also were extremely high.
We may have lost a few points but we didn't lose any ground."
The accompanying graph shows scores for the test given this past spring at the KAL.
Stanford-9 is a standardized national test in language, math and reading.
Scores are given in percentile ranks that indicate a student's performance compared to a "norming group" for that grade level and subject.
A score of 50 puts a school at the national average in each subject area.
The best way to determine progress made by students is to "track" them from year to year.
For example, did second graders in 2001 improve their scores as third graders in 2002?
The raw numbers indicate improvement among selected classes, but not across the board.
In language, sixth-grade students went from 49 in 2001 to 63 as seventh graders in 2002.
That was the largest gain showed in language arts.
On the other hand, eighth graders went from 53 in 2001 to 34 as ninth graders in 2002, a dip of 19 percentile points.
Fourth, sixth and seventh-grade students in 2002 all were above 70 and second and eighth graders scored above 60 in math.
The 71 score for fourth-graders was a rise of 18 points from the 53 score they made as third graders in 2001.
But third, fifth, eighth and ninth grade-students all lost ground in math from the preceding year.
The bright spot in reading was the 62 score for fourth graders, up from the 49 they'd made as third graders in 2001.
But seventh graders were the only other class to improve climbing 1 point to 60.
"We'll emphasize reading this year, along with language and math," Rowe said.
"We'll never stop emphasizing any subject.
"I'm pleased that 67 percent of our students improved on the Stanford test, even though we had some scores that went lower.
The overall picture I get is that our student body did very well on the SAT test."