By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ga. SAT scores drop for 2nd straight year
Placeholder Image
    ATLANTA — Scores on the SAT college-entrance exam dropped for a second straight year in Georgia, pushing a state that has struggled to rise from the bottom of the rankings back down one place.
    Georgia now ranks 47th compared to other states and Washington, D.C., with a mean score of 1,466 on the standardized test out of a possible 2,400. That’s a six-point drop from last year’s mean score of 1,472 and an 11-point drop from 2006.
    The state ranked 46th last year, up from its last place ranking two years before that.
    Georgia test takers fared worse on all three SAT categories this year. The mean scores were 491 in reading, 493 in math and 482 in writing, down from 494 in reading, 495 in math and 483 in writing last year.
    State education officials say Georgia is still introducing its revamped, tougher curriculum, which will mean better test scores down the road. This year’s ninth graders are the first of Georgia’s high school students to try the new math curriculum and the reading curriculum is just a couple of years old, said deputy superintendent Martha Reichrath.
    ‘‘I won’t tell you we were excited,’’ she said about Georgia’s SAT scores. ‘‘We are also aware it’s going to take time for the curriculum to take hold.’’
    The test’s administrators, the College Board, discourages the use of the test scores to compare education from state to state because the percentage of students who take them varies widely.
    Nearly 63,000 — about 70 percent — of Georgia’s seniors took the SAT. Typically, states with larger pools of test takers fare worse in the rankings.
    For example, the top five states in the ranking all had fewer than 6,000 students take the SAT this year. Top-ranking Iowa — where the ACT is the more common college entrance exam — posted a mean SAT score of 1,797 and had just 1,330 students take the test this year.
    Still, Georgia also ranks low among states where the majority of students take the SAT. Georgia is eighth among the 10 states with 70 percent or higher participation rate on the test, just ahead of Washington, D.C., and Maine.
    Georgia had the third largest rate of black students taking the test in the nation with 27.7 percent, behind Maryland and D.C. Georgia’s black students did slightly better than the national mean score with 1,282, compared to 1,280.
    The state must focus on poor and minority students getting the extra help they need to do better on the SAT and other tests, said Jeff Hubbard, president of the Georgia Association of Educators, the state’s largest teachers union. That includes helping low-income parents find ways to improve their education level with adult training programs so that they can be more directly involved in their children’s education, he said.
    ‘‘I think it’s just going to take time to totally reinvent public education in the state of Georgia,’’ Hubbard said.
    Nationally, students performed the same as they did last year with a mean score of 1,511. Two years ago, students recorded the sharpest drop in SAT scores in 31 years after the College Board introduced a revamped, longer test with harder math questions and the addition of a writing portion for the first time.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter