Detroit charters lead in SAT and college enrollment

Becky Carlton
Sep 18, 2019 10:12:11 PM

In the next 10 years, our society will be at a pivotal moment in that half of all jobs will require some level of education beyond high school. As we look continue to monitor Michigan's growth in K12 education outcomes, it is especially important to support populations who might not have equitable access to a quality education to ensure low-income high school graduates are prepared for the transition to college if chosen.

The SAT is a college-entrance exam that reflects not only student preparedness for rigorous future academics, but also a school's ability to meet the evolving needs of high school learners in a given community. In 2018, charter schools emerged as the top ten open-enrollment high schools - this year, that number grew to twelve.

I attribute our success with SAT scores to our mindset shift of college readiness. We have had staff training around college readiness and the connection to students taking high level courses that include a higher level of rigor. We have been focusing on our International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement courses and supporting teachers to not teach a book but teach standards.

-Ralph Bland, Superintendent, DEPSA

Every charter school in Michigan is an open-enrollment school, meaning it’s open to any student who applies without restriction. If there are more students who apply than space allows, a blind lottery is held to determine enrollment. The only selective-admission or application public schools in Detroit are part of the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

The top 15 open-enrollment schools, with their average SAT score (charters in bold):

Detroit Edison Public School Academy - 925.0
Detroit Community Schools - 876.9
Cesar Chavez Academy - 855.8
Cornerstone Health and Technology High School - 840.9
University Preparatory Academy - 839.7
Voyageur Academy – 833.8
Detroit Collegiate High School - 826.7
Frontier International Academy - 826.3
Jalen Rose Leadership Academy - 824.0
Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies - 821.9
WAY Academy - 820.6
University Prep Science and Math - 818.3
Martin Luther King Jr. High School (DPSCD) - 816.5
Western High School (DPSCD) - 815.0
Oakland International Academy - 804.4

The success of our students on the SAT reflects the collaborative team effort from the top down across our network. We placed a laser-like-focus on the data using students' PSAT scores in both Grades 9 and 10 as a baseline in an effort to identify gaps in learning, patterns and trends. Each 11th grader was required to take a SAT Prep class daily where our findings were addressed during instruction. We administered three practice tests and also bused all 11th graders to take the test twice at official testing locations. This gave them an opportunity to take the test in the actual environment. Lastly, we accredit our great team of educators here for the collective effort in preparing students for the State Test. It's great to be recognized among the best but we still are working to go even higher this school year.

-Jared J. Davis, Principal, Cornerstone Health and Technology High School

The top 10 Detroit high schools for SAT score, including all charters and DPSCD schools (charters in bold):

Renaissance High School (DPSCD selective enrollment) - 1035.8
Cass Technical High School (DPSCD selective enrollment) – 1005.2
Detroit Edison Public School Academy – 925.0
Detroit Community Schools – 876.9
Communication and Media Arts High School (DPSCD application school) – 863.1
Cesar Chavez Academy - 855.8
Cornerstone Health and Technology - 840.9
University Preparatory Academy - 839.7
Detroit School of Arts (DPSCD application school) – 838.7
Voyageur Academy – 833.8

The average SAT score among all Detroit charter schools is 828.3, while the average score for all DPSCD schools is 800.5. Also, the top nine open-enrollment schools in Detroit who enroll the most graduates are all charter schools as well.

Statewide K-12 data consistently demonstrates that the strongest barriers to student achievement are things like poverty, trauma, socioeconomic disadvantage and lack of resources. We must focus on breaking these patterns - and celebrating any school that is doing so, whether they be charter, traditional or otherwise.

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