Education

Muscogee County School District delivers record SAT performance

Muscogee County Public Education Center
Muscogee County Public Education Center Ledger-Enquirer

The Muscogee County School District’s systemwide 2016 SAT performance resulted in its highest composite score to date, matched the state average in math and narrowed the gaps in reading and writing, according to a news release.

Also encouraging for MCSD: During the past five years, the district increased its composite SAT score by 22 points while the state’s average increased by 7 points and the national average decreased by 14 points.

Other highlights in the SAT scores for 2016 college-bound seniors include:

▪  The composite score increased by 16 points this past year, out of a maximum of 2400 points, from 1432 in 2015 to 1448 in 2016 while the state increased by 9 points (from 1450 to 1459) and the nation decreased by 6 points (from 1490 to 1484).

▪  The composite score is the district’s highest since the SAT added the writing section in 2006.

▪  The combined reading and math score (975 out of 1600) is the district’s highest since 2005.

“I am very encouraged by the progress being made in all of the assessed areas, which along with the composite score, are the highest recorded to date for our district,” Superintendent David Lewis wrote in an email Tuesday night to the Ledger-Enquirer. “I am particularly pleased with matching the state average in Math as well as the one- and five-year trend comparison increases that surpass the state and nation in all areas. I commend our students for challenging themselves with more rigorous coursework and our dedicated teachers for the high quality instruction they provide daily.”

Despite narrowing the gaps, Muscogee County hasn’t surpassed the state average in any of the SAT assessments, and Georgia still lags behind the national averages.

Comparing the 2015 and 2016 SAT scores by section, out of 800 points, the district’s reading score increased by 4 points (from 481 to 485) while the state’s increased by 3 points (from 490 to 493) and the nation’s decreased by 1 point (from 495 to 494). The math score increased by 9 points (from 481 to 490) while the state’s increased by 5 points (from 485 to 490) and the nation’s decreased by 3 points (from 511 to 508). The writing score increased by 3 points (from 470 to 473) while the state’s increased by 1 point (from 475 to 476) and the nation’s decreased by 2 points (from 484 to 482).

Looking at the composite scores for individual MCSD schools, Northside had the largest improvement, increasing by 13 points, from 1405 to 1418, and Spencer had the largest decline, decreasing by 66 points, from 1260 to 1194.

In other local school districts, Harris County’s composite score increased by 15 points, from 1443 to 1458. Its writing score increased by 8 points, from 473 to 481, and its reading score increased by 7 points, from 487 to 494. Its math scored remained 483. Chattahoochee County’s composite score decreased by 22 points, from 1311 in 2015 to 1289 in 2016. Although its reading score increased by 3 points, from 447 to 450, its math score decreased by 17 points, from 428 to 411, and its writing score decreased by 8 points, from 436 to 428.

The Alabama State Department of Education hasn’t released its SAT scores because its “suite of assessments are aligned with the ACT,” Erica Pippins, the department’s public information specialist, told the Ledger-Enquirer. The ACT is the nation’s other college entrance exam. The L-E reported the local 2016 ACT scores last month.

The SAT changed its format and content earlier this year. The last administration of the former SAT was in January. The first administration of the new SAT was in March. The scores in this report are from only the last time 2016 college-bound seniors took one of the former SATs.

The differences between the former and new SAT, according to the College Board:

▪  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 sections were reduced from three (reading, math and writing) to two (reading/writing and math).

▪  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.

SAT SCORES: 2015-16 COMPARISON

COMPOSITE (2400 maximum)

Note: Because of a wide variance in the number of test takers at each school, the average scores for the individual schools don’t have the same impact on the school district’s average, said Patrick Knopf, the Muscogee County School District’s director of research, accountability and assessment.

School/system

2015

2016

+/-

Carver

1205

1208

+3

Chattahoochee County

1311

1289

-22

Columbus

1708

1687

-21

Early College Academy

1323

1271

-52

Hardaway

1312

1324

+12

Harris County

1443

1458

+15

Jordan

1264

NA

NA

Kendrick

1243

1208

-35

Northside

1405

1418

+13

Shaw

1309

1292

-17

Spencer

1260

1194

-66

Muscogee County

1432

1448

+16

Georgia

1450

1459

+9

Nation

1490

1484

-6

NA: Not available because the school didn’t have the minimum number of test-takers, 15.

READING (800 maximum)

School/system

2015

2016

+/-

Carver

397

406

+9

Chattahoochee County

447

450

+3

Columbus

563

560

-3

Early College Academy

465

445

-20

Hardaway

445

449

+4

Harris County

487

494

+7

Jordan

426

NA

NA

Kendrick

407

407

0

Northside

478

478

0

Shaw

445

432

-13

Spencer

424

397

-27

Muscogee County

481

485

+4

Georgia

490

493

+3

Nation

495

494

-1

MATH (800 maximum)

School/system

2015

2016

+/-

Carver

410

400

-10

Chattahoochee County

428

411

-17

Columbus

585

579

-6

Early College Academy

419

401

-18

Hardaway

433

441

+8

Harris County

483

483

0

Jordan

400

NA

NA

Kendrick

426

413

-13

Northside

468

479

+11

Shaw

440

429

-11

Spencer

424

414

-10

Muscogee County

481

490

+9

Georgia

485

490

+5

Nation

511

508

-3

WRITING (800 maximum)

School/system

2015

2016

+/-

Carver

398

402

+4

Chattahoochee County

436

428

-8

Columbus

560

548

-12

Early College Academy

439

425

-14

Hardaway

434

434

0

Harris County

473

481

+8

Jordan

438

NA

NA

Kendrick

410

388

-22

Northside

459

461

+2

Shaw

424

431

+7

Spencer

412

383

-29

Muscogee County

470

473

+3

Georgia

475

476

+1

Nation

484

482

-2

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