Compared to students at the state and national level, Lake Oswego students once again posted high scores on the SAT exam this year, according to figures released by the Lake Oswego School District administration Tuesday.

The 2006 exam, which was taken by 86 percent of the district's graduates, included a new essay portion that raised the perfect score from 1,600 to 2,400.

The district's total score, which included the essay, equaled 1,690 - 135 points higher than the state average of 1,555 and 172 points higher than the national average of 1,518.

The scores were relatively consistent with previous years. However, the average score posted by district seniors in the combined math and critical reading (verbal) categories dipped from 1,156 in 2005 to 1,136 in 2006.

Superintendent Bill Korach feels scores are strong and consistently in the exceptional 1,130-range.

'Last year we had a great group of kids that spiked those scores,' Korach said. 'That happens occasionally when you have some classes that are better, academically, than others.'

The slight district dip follows a state and national trend this year.

State officials are reporting mixed results, while those at the national level say the nation is recording its sharpest score drop in 31 years. Officials with the College Board, which administers the exam, said the dip was partly due to some students taking the newly lengthened test once instead of twice.

The standardized college admissions tests are often used as a benchmark to compare schools and students across the state and nation.

'You're testing the students' ability to do something that you can compare consistently across the entire nation,' Korach said. 'The SATs are something where you get a consistent measure, but it is only one measure.'

Students at Lake Oswego High School posted an average composite score of 1,694 on the new SAT, while students at Lakeridge High School posted an average composite score of 1,686.

Both schools dipped slightly in the math and critical reading categories from the previous year.

Administrators are quick to point out that the scores are all the more impressive because of the high percentage of students in the school district who take the test.

Eighty-eight percent of students at LOHS finished the SAT exam in 2006, and 83 percent at Lakeridge took the test. In Oregon, 55 percent of the graduates completed the SAT.

Korach called the district's high scores, coupled with high testing, 'powerful.'

'We're very fortunate … and pleased with the results, as you would expect,' he said.

Students across the state continued to beat the national average. The average score for the state, at 1,555, was 37 points higher than the national average of 1,518.

SAT score information from Riverdale High School was not provided in time for the Review's deadline.

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