SAT score controversy in Richmond schools

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There's an SAT controversy in Richmond. A local delegate is accusing the City school system of manipulating the numbers by using test scores from a school that's not actually in its district.

A spokesperson for the school system says it has nothing to hide and has done nothing wrong. but Delegate Joe Morrissey held a press conference this morning, he says to point out to parents that Richmond SAT scores are not as high as they look.

It's all in the numbers when it comes to SATs. Students have to take the test to get into college and school systems use it as a benchmark.

On the Richmond Public Schools website there's a list of its students average SAT scores.

"They've use a total score of 954. that's not accurate, it's not true, it's misleading. it's disingenuous," said Delegate Joe Morrissey.

He's pointing out that those number include the scores of 156 students from Maggie Walker Governor's School, a privately, regionally and federally funded specialty school for high achievers.

Morrissey says if you take out Maggie Walker's numbers you're left with a average score of 817. That's more than 150 points less than the state average.

"It's not fair for the RPS to take credit for scores that children achieve that they have no influence in. They are not hiring the teachers. they are not supervising the teachers."

But a spokesperson for Richmond Public Schools says the allegations are unfair and that the district isn't trying to trick anyone.

"The numbers are on the website because it's reported like that by the college board. We don't scrub our numbers or manipulate them," said RPS spokesperson Felicia Cosby.

She acknowledges the city's SAT scores are low and says that should be the focus.

"We are being transparent. we are not manipulating anything. When we were the second lowest performing school in the state no one accused us of manipulating the numbers. Now that we show improvement, that allegation comes out. We want to take our kids to the next level. Have we celebrated our successes? Absolutely. Do we know we need to go further? Absolutely. Are we where we want to be? No. Are we working on that? Yes," she said.

Morrissey says he's alerted the chair of the house education committee and is even considering introducing legislation to require school system to be honest and transparent when reporting SAT scores.

The school system says, as of now, it has no plans to take the SAT numbers off its website.

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