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Hall, Gainesville SAT scores up, still below state average

SAT results

• Chestatee, 137 test-takers, 487 reading average, 485 math average, 467 English average, 1439 total average

• East Hall, 111 test-takers, 447 reading average, 457 math average, 432 English average, 1336 total average

• Flowery Branch, 245 test-takers, 501 reading average, 490 math average, 468 English average, 1459 total average

• Gainesville, 167 test-takers, 471 reading average, 472 math average, 458 English average, 1401 total average

• Johnson, 121 test-takers, 473 reading average, 457 math average, 445 English average, 1375 total average

• North Hall, 145 test-takers, 507 reading average, 497 math average, 490 English average, 1494 total average

• West Hall, 141 test-takers, 457 reading average, 442 math average, 434 English average, 1333 total average

Gainesville and Hall County students scored higher on the SAT exam in 2016 than 2015, but local scores still trailed the state average in both years.

Students in both local systems scored higher in each section of the traditional SAT, just as the average of the state’s students did.

The SAT was redesigned and the new version was introduced this spring. The new version scores students in “evidence-based” reading and math. The previous exam had sections for

critical reading, math and writing.

Scores reported from the local systems follow the traditional version of the test. The state reported only 2016 results from the traditional version because of the low number of students who took the new version of the test.

Gainesville High School students had an average score of 1401 for 2016 — an increase from 1353 in 2015.

Hall County students scored 1415 in 2016 and 1404 in 2015.

Georgia’s “mean,” or average, score was 1459, up 9 points from the 1450 in 2015.

In both local systems, the number of students who took the SAT declined in 2016. At Gainesville, 224 students took the test in 2015 and 167 took it in 2016. In Hall County, the number of test-takers declined from 1,017 in 2015 to 900 in 2016.

“Increases were noted in reading, math and writing scores,” said Kevin Bales, executive director for school improvement for Hall County. “With the state average composite score increasing by nine points, district gains were well aligned to the state trends.”

At the school level, the most significant gains took place at Johnson High School and Flowery Branch High School.  Johnson's composite SAT score increased by 43 points — from 1332 to 1375.  Flowery Branch experienced an increase of 33 points— from 1426 to 1459.

The highest test results were at North Hall High School, which had an average score of 1494.

“The SAT is tied to the skills and knowledge that research indicates matter most for college success and therefore reflects what students are already learning in school,” a press release from the Gainesville schools said.

“While the average mean scores increased, the number of test-takers decreased. We attribute this to an increased intentional focus on ensuring that students are taking the right test at the right time based on their postsecondary plans,” the release said.

A total of 69,922 students in the class of 2016 took the SAT — old or new — at least once, the Georgia Department of Education reported.

The DOE also reported, “This year’s new SAT data cannot be compared to that of previous years because the redesigned SAT is a different assessment from the old SAT.”