In the second year of taking the new SAT college entrance exam, the Muscogee County School District improved its overall score and continued to outperform similar districts, but the state and national averages improved more.
MCSD’s composite score increased by 2 points, from 1051 in the Class of 2017 to 1053 in the Class of 2018, while the Georgia average for public-school students increased by 14 points, from 1040 in 2017 to 1054 in 2018, and the national average for public-school students increased by 5 points, from 1044 in 2017 to 1049 in 2018.
When including all test-takers, such as private-school and home-schooled students, the Georgia average increased by 14 points as well, from 1050 in 2017 to 1064 in 2018, while the national average increased by 8 points, from 1060 in 2017 to 1068 in 2018.
A perfect score is 1600.
In a news release, MCSD superintendent David Lewis said, “We are gratified with the improved composite results on this college-readiness indicator, particularly in the areas of reading and writing that for the first time exceeded both the state and national averages. While we are pleased with the overall continued improvement, we fully recognize that we have work ahead of us in an ongoing effort to ensure that all students meet our expectation of becoming full-option graduates that are college and career ready.”
MCSD’s composite SAT score continued to outperform the school districts in Georgia’s other second-tier cities in achievement and improvement. Richmond County (Augusta) fell 17 points, from 996 in 2017 to 979 in 2018. Chatham County (Augusta) remained at 978. Bibb County (Macon) slipped from 909 in 2017 to 908 in 2018.
College Board officials have said the 2017 and 2018 SAT results can’t be compared to previous years because of the new version, 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.
The Harris County School District increased its SAT composite score by 40 points, from 1036 in the Class of 2017 to 1076 in the Class of 2018.
“It pleases the district that Harris County continues to outpace the state of Georgia in performance on the SAT as well as the ACT and Georgia Milestones assessments,” HCSD assistant superintendent for curriculum David Dennie told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email. “We use such data to monitor our district, and we are glad to report that we see nothing of concern in these results. Regardless, we as a district are continuing to work to make Harris County one of the top schools in the state.”
Chattahoochee County increased its SAT composite score by 21 points, from 961 in the Class of 2017 to 982 in the Class of 2018.
“We are pleased that our mean score as well as the individual scores improved from last year,” ChattCo principal Sandi Veliz told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email. “Our growth mindset has continued to net results in student achievement.”
Recognizing that, despite the improvement, ChattCo remains behind the state and national averages, guidance counselor Melissa Wilkinson said in the email, “We have added an SAT prep course as an elective. We also recognize the barriers facing some of our students to taking SAT on a Saturday morning outside of our community.
“So in April 2018 we implemented the SATSchool Day through generous donations from community partners and our school district. This allowed all juniors to take the SAT on our campus at no cost to them. Many students stated that they felt more relaxed and much less nervous being able to take the test at their school, with this along with an increase in the the number of testers we fully anticipate an increase in the 2019 and future cohorts.”
Scores are reported here for Alabama schools but not enough students take the SAT to make a valid comparison. They take the state-mandated ACT. The Ledger-Enquirer reported those scores last week.
Mark Rice, 706-576-6272, @MarkRiceLE.
CLASS OF 2018 SAT SCORES COMPARED TO 2017
Note: The scores are for public-school students.
Here’s how the average scores for the class of 2018 in the Muscogee County School District compare to the districts in Georgia’s other second-tier cities, Bibb County (Macon), Chatham County (Savannah) and Richmond County (Augusta):