The Muscogee County School District’s average total score on the SAT beat the state average for the first time (by 1 point) and the average of Georgia’s three other second-tier cities by more than 50 points – and is 9 points shy of the national average.
MCSD’s average total score is 1051, Georgia’s is 1050 and the nation’s is 1060, according to results for the graduating class of 2017 released Tuesday by the New York-based College Board, which administers the SAT college entrance exam.
The Columbus public schools in Muscogee County outperformed the school districts in Georgia’s three other second-tier cities: Bibb County (Macon) scored 909, Chatham County (Savannah) 978 and Richmond County (Augusta) 996.
This report follows the release earlier this month of the results for the 2017 ACT, the nation’s other major college entrance exam. For the second straight year, the MCSD’s average composite score on the ACT is the highest since the district has kept track of those, now for 12 years.
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Although the average composite score in MCSD is better than the state average, Columbus High School, a total magnet school, is the only one out of Muscogee’s nine high schools with its average composite score better than the state average. Columbus High’s 1214 is fourth-best in Georgia and the only school outside of metro Atlanta in the state’s top 10, according to the rankings compiled by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Columbus High’s 2017 score on the ACT ranks sixth in the state.
Harris County High School’s 1054 is the only other Columbus area school whose total SAT score is better than the 2017 state average.
College Board officials say the 2017 SAT results can’t be compared to previous years because this is the first graduating class with the majority of test-takers having taken the new version of the college entrance exam, which debuted in March 2016. The differences between the former and new SAT, according to the College Board:
▪ The sections were reduced from three (reading, math and writing) back to two (reading/writing and math). So the maximum score now is the familiar 1600 instead of 2400, which was the top of the scale from 2005-2015.
▪ The length was reduced from 171 questions in 225 minutes to 154 questions in 180 minutes (155 questions and 230 minutes with the optional essay).
▪ The former SAT assessed students on general reasoning, a wide range of math skills and understanding texts, and the writing section questions were based on sentences and short paragraphs. The new SAT assesses students on skills and knowledge needed for college and careers, better reflects what students learn in class and asks them to support answers with evidence from a passage of text.
▪ The former SAT included uncommon vocabulary words. The new SAT assesses students on vocabulary words in context, so they can figure out what the words mean from the surrounding content.
▪ The former SAT required an essay. The new SAT makes the essay optional.
▪ The former SAT subtracted points for incorrect answers. The new SAT doesn’t penalizing students for guessing.
In a news release Tuesday, MCSD superintendent David Lewis said, “We are pleased to see the continued improvement on this college-readiness indicator in light of the test’s more rigorous redesign. We are particularly pleased that our district’s composite score surpassed that of the state for the first time since district records have been recorded and continues the trend of closing the gap with the nation. There is still much work to be done to meet our expectation of all students being full-option graduates, but we are encouraged by these baseline results and will continue to monitor them in the years ahead to ensure that our students are indeed college and career-ready.”
CLASS OF 2017 SAT SCORES
Note: ERW is the name of the subtest for “evidence-based reading and writing,” previously called “verbal.” The average ERW and math scores for each school might not add up exactly to the total score because of rounding.
Harris County (144)
MCSD average (922)
Early College (22)
Chattahoochee County (46)
Here’s how the average scores for the class of 2017 in the Muscogee County School District compare to the district’s in Georgia’s other second-tier cities, Bibb County (Macon), Chatham County (Savannah) and Richmond County (Augusta):
Muscogee County (922)
Richmond County (803)
Chatham County (1,118)
Bibb County (1,089)
PERCENTAGE OF MCSD TEST-TAKERS
Here are the SAT participation rates for each Muscogee County School District high school’s 2017 graduating class:
CLASS OF 2017