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How students in local school districts fared on this year’s SAT
05252018 GRADflowery 3.jpg
Flowery Branch High honor graduate Reed Petty prepares to line up to enter the sanctuary Thursday, May 24, 2018, at Free Chapel Worship Center during the school's graduation ceremony. More Georgia students are taking the SAT in preparation for college and scoring better than the national average. - photo by Scott Rogers

More students in Hall, Gainesville, Buford, Forsyth and Dawson schools took the SAT in 2018 than did in 2017, helping Georgia best the national average in scores, the state Department of Education announced on Thursday, Oct. 25. 

“We are encouraged by the latest results,” said Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield. “Record number of test takers, and beating the national average. With our student population, it is yet another testimony to the incredible work our teachers and students do every day.”

Among Hall high school students, 1,090 took the SAT (which measures math, and reading and writing comprehension) this year, up from 880 in 2017. And the average score bumped up to 1054 from 1038.

The highest SAT score that can be achieved is 1600. 

Among Gainesville City high school students, 234 took the SAT, with the average score falling only slightly to 1000 from 1014 last year.

“The value of the assessment is that we are able to gauge how we’re doing compared with the rest of the nation, determine who is college ready, and identify standards that need more instructional focus,” Shea Ray, Gainesville City Schools director of secondary programs, told The Times in an email. “We attribute the increase in the number of students taking the SAT to our intentionality of increasing the number of (Advanced Placement and dual enrollment) course offerings, using data to identify more students who should take these courses, and increasing expectations for all students.” 

The statewide average for public-school SAT takers was 1054 compared with 1049 nationwide.

According to the Georgia Department of Education, increases in participation are often accompanied by a slight decrease in scores.

Sixty-six percent of Georgia’s public-school class of 2018 took the SAT during high school, compared to 61 percent of the class of 2017.

In Buford City Schools, for example, 238 students took the SAT this year versus 185 in 2017, but the average score slipped to 1142 from 1157 in 2017.

However, overall, Georgia’s improvements took place even as more students took the SAT.

In Forsyth County Schools, for example, 2,206 students took the test this year with an average score of 1167 compared with just 1,649 students scoring an average of 1146 in 2017.

In Dawson County Schools, three fewer students took the test this year, but the average score increased to 1065 from 1046 in 2017.

“We are seeing historic improvements in our education outcomes here in Georgia,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said in a press release. “On the SAT, which was once used to label Georgia as ‘last in the nation’ in education, Georgia’s public-school students are now beating the national average.”

A focus on improving scores among minority students also fared well, according to the Department of Education. 

African-American students across Georgia scored an average of 961, higher than the national average of 935 and an increase over 957 in 2017. 

And Georgia’s Latino students averaged a score of 1022, a slight decrease from 1023 last year but still better than the national average of 979.

SAT scores – 2018 high school graduating class


District; Number of test takers; Average score

  • Hall County; 1,090; 1054
  • Gainesville City; 234; 1000
  • Buford City; 238; 1142
  • Forsyth Count;y 2,206; 1167
  • Dawson County; 131; 1065

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