Handing out diplomas at every RISD graduation ceremony is one of the great perks of being a school board trustee. I never tire of sharing this joyful moment with our wonderful students and their families. This year, I got to hand diplomas to my twin daughters, and it was a real tear-jerker.

Since our business is educating students to be successful, let’s take stock of how RISD graduates compare in Texas and nationally.

Twenty years ago, only about 60 percent of RISD graduating seniors were college-bound. Today college-bound graduates have risen to 85 percent.

Simultaneously, college entrance requirements are higher, and competition is stiffer. Students must make better grades in more college prep courses, have higher Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores, submit resumes of their school activities and community service, and write personal essays for admission. UT Austin received 21,130 applications for 6,400 places in the fall 2000 freshman class.

Five years ago, our seniors reported $12 million in scholarships. This year RISD graduates will earn an amazing $15-16 million in scholarships, a 33 percent increase.

The SAT is the most frequently taken college admissions test in this part of the country. Maximum score for each part is 800, total 1600. Here’s a summary of current mean scores.

TOTAL SCORES

Verbal RISD % Higher Math RISD % Higher

RISD 531 – 547 –

Texas 494 7.5% 499 9.6%

National 505 5.1% 511 7.0%

The true test of a quality educational system is to examine how well students in each sub-population are performing, and every RISD sub-population is exceeding both state and national norms!

ASIAN

Verbal % Higher Math % Higher

RISD 512 – 590 –

Texas 507 1.0% 563 4.8%

National 498 2.8% 560 5.4%

AFRICAN AMERICAN

Verbal % Higher Math % Higher

RISD 458 – 451 –

Texas 427 7.3% 420 7.4%

National 434 5.5% 422 6.9%

HISPANIC & LATINO

Verbal % Higher Math % Higher

RISD 504 – 506 –

Texas 451 11.8% 452 11.9%

National 453 11.3% 456 11.0%

WHITE

Verbal % Higher Math % Higher

RISD 550 – 559 –

Texas 522 5.4% 525 6.5%

National 527 4.4% 528 5.9%

In order for our community to thrive, children of all racial and ethnic groups must succeed. RISD is excelling in the critical challenge of educating ALL children.