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SAT scores rise for Cartersville, stay about the same for Bartow

Bartow County’s high school students fared pretty well with their 2015 SAT scores.

According to reports released Thursday by the Georgia Department of Education, students in the Cartersville City School District scored well above the state’s mean scores in critical reading, math and writing and higher than the national scores in everything except math.

Bartow County students were on about the same level as the state scores except in writing and were below the national scores.

Cartersville students’ mean scores this year were 511, up from 497 last year, for critical reading; 494, up from 489 last year, for math; and 491, up from 478 last year, for writing. The system had 136 students taking the test this year and 150 taking it in 2014.

Students in Bartow County scored 489 this year in critical reading, down from 490 last year; 483 in math, down from 486 last year; and 467 in writing, up from 462 last year. This year, there were 337 students who took the exam, while 362 took it in 2014.

The district’s three high schools saw a mixed bag in their individual scores. Adairsville High’s mean scores increased in all three areas; Woodland High’s scores decreased in all three areas; and Cass High’s scores increased in critical reading and writing and decreased in math.

Adairsville students scored 494 this year and 484 last year in critical reading; 486 this year and 485 last year in math; and 474 this year and 459 last year in writing. Ninety-three students took the test this year, and 100 took it last year.

The students at Cass had a mean score of 483, up from 477 last year, in critical reading and 455, up from 445 last year, in writing. This year’s math score dropped to 473 from 477 in 2014. There were 95 students taking the SAT this year, as opposed to 127 students last year.

At Woodland, the mean score for critical reading dropped to 490 from 506 last year, and math dropped to 488 from 495 in 2014. The writing score dipped to 472 this year from 480 last year. This year, 149 students took the test; 135 took it in 2014.

Statewide, mean scores increased by five points this year — rising two points in critical reading, from 488 to 490, and three points in writing, from 472 to 475 — but remained at 485 in math. A total of 72,898 students, or 76.9 percent, from the class of 2015 took the SAT.

Nationally, mean scores in all three areas dropped a total of seven points — from 497 to 495 in critical reading, from 513 to 511 in math and from 487 to 484 in writing.

“I am very pleased with our latest results of the SAT scores,” Cartersville Superintendent Dr. Howard Hinesley said. “It is always a positive to have scores higher than the state and national average scores. We are continually looking for ways to improve on our overall scores from year to year.”

But Hinesley and school officials try not to put too much weight on the test scores.

“We are very pleased when there is an increase in student performance, but we take these results for what they are and not read too much into them,” he said. “It is very difficult to compare one year’s SAT scores with the next year because you are testing a different group of students.”

Bartow Superintendent Dr. John Harper is looking for ways to improve his district’s scores.

“We understand the importance of SAT scores and are working with our new chief academic officer [Dr. Kimberly Fraker] to achieve an increase across the board,” he said. “All our schools work very hard to ensure our students are prepared, and we want to see them rise to the next level with success. Therefore, we are constantly looking to improve.”
State school Superintendent Richard Woods was pleased overall with this year’s results.

“I’m encouraged by these score increases because they signal that more students may be prepared for college-level work,” he said in a press release. “As we continue to realign the focus of the Georgia Department of Education and pursue child-focused, classroom-centered policies, I believe we will see continued increases in SAT scores and other key indicators.”

On the Preliminary SAT (PSAT), 33,430 Georgia 11th-graders took the test, outscoring the nation in all three subject areas, the press release said. The state’s juniors recorded mean scores of 48.8 in critical reading, 49.5 in math and 47.8 in writing, compared to the national mean scores of 46.9 in critical reading, 48.6 in math and 45.3 in writing.
Georgia juniors’ critical reading and math mean scores did not change from last year, but the writing mean score decreased by 0.1 percent.

Data released by the College Board along with SAT and PSAT score reports give some indication of where the state’s college-bound students are heading. Among 2015 high school graduates who took one of the College Board’s tests — the SAT, the PSAT/NMSQT or an Advanced Placement exam — 58.3 percent are known to be enrolled in college, an increase from 57.2 percent the previous year. Most of those students — 80.1 percent — chose to enroll in Georgia universities.

The data also offer a look at students’ post-secondary plans, since SAT test-takers tell the College Board where to send their scores. Georgia Tech received the highest percentage — 33.1 percent — of student scores, followed by the University of Georgia, Kennesaw State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State and the University of North Georgia.

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