Education

SAT scores released: Here’s how Columbus-area schools performed and why it matters

In one of the key measurements of how well high schools prepare students for college, the Muscogee County School District has surpassed the state average for public schools, according to data released Tuesday. MCSD also stretched its margin over the national average.

Comparing the class of 2019 results on the SAT college entrance exam to 2018, MCSD’s composite score increased by 3 points to 1056.

Harris County’s composite score decreased by 1 point to 1070

Chattahoochee County’s decreased by 84 points to 898.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s composite score decreased by 6 points to 1048 and the U.S. average decreased by 10 points to 1039.

A perfect score is 1600, 800-points each for reading/writing and math.

State and local education leaders said the standardized test scores matter to schools, parents and students for a variety of reasons beyond being a college entrance exam.

“Trends in the scores over time also help us track the performance and progress of Georgia’s students and schools. . . . Together with other measurements like ACT scores, state test scores , and the graduation rate, we start to develop a fuller picture of what’s taking place in our state’s public schools,” Georgia Department of Education communications director Meghan Frick told the the Ledger-Enquirer in an email.

Kristie Brooks, Chattahoochee County superintendent, said in an email to the L-E, “These scores provide our teachers necessary data to better prepare students for the transition” to college or other career options after high school.

The annual release of the SAT scores also is a chance to see how the local and state results compare nationally.

Muscogee County

MCSD’s average reading/writing score increased by 2 points to 541. Its average math score increased by 1 point to 515.

“We are pleased to see continued improvement on this college-readiness indicator,” MCSD superintendent David Lewis said in a news release. “Our district’s composite score exceeded the state and nation, which encourages us as we move forward to ensure our students are full-option, career-ready graduates.”

Also encouraging for MCSD is continued improvement on its SAT participation rate, from 46% in 2017 to 47.6% in 2018 and 47.7% out of the senior class of 2,053 in 2019.

Harris County

HCSD’s average reading/writing score increased by 1 point to 550. The average math score decreased by 2 points to 520.

The district’s SAT participation rate decreased by 8 percentage points to 34% out of the senior class of 390 students.

Chattahoochee County

ChattCo’s reading/writing score decreased by 42 points to 463. The math score decreased by 15 points to 435.

To improve ChattCo’s math performance, Brooks said, the district will start in the summer of 2020 a professional development partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative.

“It will allow our students to have access to quality classes that are designed for more rigor and will prepare students for a successful transition into post secondary institutions,” she said.

The district nearly doubled its number of SAT test-takers to 103. And 42 of them scored over 1000, Brooks noted.

“These results indicate that the student population continues to show improvement in skills such as problem solving and critical thinking,” she said.

Alabama schools

While 71% of Georgia’s 2019 high school graduates took the SAT, the participation rate was only 7% in Alabama. That’s not enough to make valid comparisons.

A better measurement of college readiness for Alabama high schools students is the ACT, which the state administers to all of them for its accountability assessment. The 2019 ACT scores are scheduled to be released next month.

SAT SCORES

Note: Ranked in order of 2019 composite score. Scores are for public school students.

SCHOOL/GROUP20182019+/-
Columbus12371225-12
Harris County10711070-1
MCSD average10531056+3
Georgia average10541048-6
Northside10621046-16
U.S. average10491039-10
Hardaway975989+14
Kendrick975971-4
Shaw955965+10
Early College956958+2
Carver916924+8
Jordan899920+21
Chattahoochee Co.982898-84
Spencer932893-39
Ledger-Enquirer staff writer Mark Rice covers education and other issues related to youth. He also writes feature stories about any compelling topic. He has been reporting in Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley for more than a quarter-century. He welcomes your local news tips and questions.
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