Student achievement on the SAT college entrance exam is headed in opposite directions at Lawrence's two high schools.
Free State High School's performance on the 2001-2002 edition of the SAT was the best in four years on the test's verbal and math portions, based on results released Tuesday.
However, Lawrence High School's scores on the SAT were down on both areas of the two-section exam.
This one-year snapshot on the 1,600-point test isn't significant, said Marlene Merrill, the Lawrence district's director of assessment.
"I basically think it's a fluke," Merrill said. "I don't think over the long haul it means much of anything."
There's now a 40-point divide on the verbal segment of the SAT between Free State and LHS. And a 22-point gap exists on the math segment between the schools.
Both high schools are still above state and national averages on the test.
Merrill said the trend over several years indicated students at Free State and LHS continued to be "very successful" when applying to colleges and universities using SAT scores for admission.
A perfect score on each part of this test is 800 points.
Merrill said the Lawrence high school scores during the past four years had shifted no more than 46 points in any single year.
"That would not be really a sizable fluctuation, given the number of individuals taking the assessment and given where we fall in terms of national rankings," Merrill said.
In 2001-2002, 180 Lawrence students took the SAT. That was 23 percent of eligible local students. In Kansas, 9 percent of students took the SAT.
That contrasts with the ACT, which was taken by 522, or 68 percent, of Lawrence students.
Release of SAT scores followed publication last week of Lawrence high school students' performance on the ACT, also a national college entrance exam.
Local scores on the ACT went down at Free State and LHS, but the decline was greater at LHS.