Albemarle County’s Class of 2021 Far Exceeds State and National Graduation Rates and SAT’s College Readiness Scores

The school division’s Class of 2021 significantly outperformed their peers across Virginia and the nation this year, both in on-time graduation rates and scores on the College Board’s SAT tests.

Albemarle County Public Schools seniors raised their on-time graduation rate by 5%, surpassing state averages overall and besting each of five student demographic groups. Separately, those who took the College Board’s SAT tests scored 110 points higher than their counterparts in the state and nearly 200 points better than their peers across the nation.

On-Time Graduation

The division’s graduates were well ahead of the state average for earning Virginia’s highest academic achievement, with 64.3% receiving an Advanced Studies Diploma. Statewide, 52.8% of all Virginia graduates received an Advanced Studies Diploma.

The on-time graduation rate, which indicates that a student earned their diploma four years after entering ninth grade, was 96.5% in the county, compared to 91.8% a year ago. Graduation rates for Black students, Hispanic students, special education students, students from economically disadvantaged households, and English Learners were all higher in the county than they were statewide.

The county’s drop-out rate of 3% compared favorably to the state rate of 4.3%. It also improved from last year’s 4.6%.

Graduates from each of the county’s three comprehensive high schools surpassed the statewide on-time graduation rate of 93%. Western Albemarle High School’s on-time rate was 99%, and it included a 100% rate for Hispanic and special education students. The school’s drop-out rate was less than 1%, and 73% of Western Albemarle graduates earned an Advanced Studies Diploma.

Albemarle High School’s on-time graduation rate was 96.1%, including a 96.8% rate for Black students and a 90% rate for special education students. The percentage of graduates awarded an Advanced Studies Diploma was 65, and the school’s drop-out rate was 3.5%.

Monticello High School graduates achieved an on-time graduation rate of 95.1%, with 56% achieving an Advanced Studies Diploma. The school had the highest rate for graduating special education students on time at 98.1%, and for Black students, 97.8%. The school’s drop-out rate was 4.2%.

SAT Tests

School division seniors earned SAT scores of 636 on the verbal test and 626 in math for a combined score of 1261. This compared to combined tests scores across Virginia of 1151 (584 on the verbal test and 567 in math) and nationally of 1061 (533 on the verbal test and 528 in math). The combined score of 1261 was 70 points higher than the 2020 SAT results for Albemarle County seniors.

The tests also yield a college readiness benchmark. Research has shown that students who meet or exceed the College Board benchmark have a high likelihood for success in credit-bearing college work.

This year, nearly nine out of 10 Albemarle County students (89%) who took the SAT met the benchmark—20% higher than a year ago. This also was 26 percentage points above the state average and almost double the national average of 45%.

Nationally, across Virginia, and in Albemarle County, the percentage of students taking the SAT was substantially below 2020 levels. The College Board cited several factors related to the pandemic for the decline, pointing out that there was a pause in testing and that many test sites were either closed or had their capacity reduced by public health orders.

To help expand participation this school year, the division will offer SAT tests in the spring during the normal school day instead of on a weekend as has previously been the case. The division will pay test fees and provide free transportation to its three comprehensive high schools where the tests will be administered.

Founded in 1900, the College Board is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools. For further information, visit

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