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2008 SAT Results Highlight Need for Rigor

Media Contacts: - GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 463-1487,   -  College Board , (212) 713-8052     August 26, 2008 -- The 2008 SAT results contain some good news for Georgia but also demonstrate the need to continue to implement more rigorous standards, especially in mathematics.    "The results once again show that Georgia's African American and Hispanic students are outperforming their peers across the nation, and that's good news," said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox. "But clearly we must continue to raise expectations for our students in mathematics, reading and all areas of the curriculum."    Governor Sonny Perdue said: "Georgia’s schools are seeing improvement in graduation rates, ACT scores and other test results, and we will analyze these SAT results and our SAT programs to make sure we are doing everything we can to help students prepare for this test. Once again, our African American and Hispanic students outscored their counterparts across the nation, but we will not be satisfied until our aggregate results reflect the talented students and teachers that are working hard to improve achievement."   Georgia's 2008 seniors -- including public, private and homeschooled students -- had an average score of 1,466 on the SAT and a national rank of 47th. Public school seniors scored a 1,453 on the SAT in 2008 and a national rank of 45th in the nation in 2008.    It is expected that the results on the SAT and all tests will improve as the state continues the implementation of its more rigorous curriculum and new graduation requirements. The new graduation requirement calls for all students to take four years of mathematics and science, while providing enough flexibility for students to pursue their different areas of interest.    "The results of the work we are doing now to provide a rigorous and relevant education for all students may not impact our SAT scores for a few years, yet," Superintendent Cox said. "But it is important that we remain committed to a plan that will provide students with the education they need to be ready for college and the jobs of the 21st century."    FOCUS ON MATH     Superintendent Cox said that Georgia can better prepare students for college entrance exams, and raise its average SAT scores, by continuing to focus on improving student achievement in core areas, especially  mathematics .    Georgia's students were 22 points under the national average in mathematics -- the largest difference of any of the three parts of the test. Even Georgia students who took higher level mathematics classes trailed the national average when compared to other advanced math students.    "Our mathematics scores are like an anchor -- they are weighing us down and keeping us from moving up as a state," said Superintendent Cox. "I know the state's new mathematics curriculum and the graduation rule requirements will better prepare students for the SAT, for post-secondary education and for the world of work."    None of Georgia's 2008 seniors had been taught using the state's new mathematics curriculum. The Georgia Performance Standards in mathematics are being introduced to students in grade 9 this school year. The new standards will be phased in one grade at a time until 2012. Also starting with this year's ninth-graders, all students will have to take four years of mathematics in order to graduate, not just college-bound students.    HIGHER THAN THE NATION     Georgia's African-American and Hispanic students scored higher than the nation once again in 2008.    African-American students in Georgia had an average combined score of 1,282, which was two points higher than the national average for African-American students. Hispanic students in Georgia had an average combined score of 1,423, which was 59 points higher than the national average for Hispanic students.    Georgia continues to have one of the largest African-American test-taking populations in the nation. In fact, Georgia's African-American test takers account for nearly a tenth of the African-American test takers in the nation.    "More of our students each year are pursuing the dream of going to college," Superintendent Cox said. "Therefore, we must make sure all students are well-prepared for what they will see on the SAT so they will have a better chance of getting into the college of their choice and being successful once they get there."    ONGOING EFFORT AND ANALYSIS     Superintendent Cox said the department is going to closely look at the SAT data to try to figure out why statewide achievement is stagnant.    There are many efforts underway to improve SAT scores, including free on-line SAT preparation classes to all high school students; paying for every public school 10th grader to take the PSAT; training teachers around the state on how to use PSAT data to guide instruction and increasing the number of students taking rigorous Advanced Placement classes.    "On other national tests, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the ACT, Georgia's scores are rising. But on the SAT, we saw a slight drop," Superintendent Cox said. "We need to work with the College Board and figure out what's going on."    A quick analysis of the data provided by the College Board indicates there are some trends that deserve further study. Most notably, fewer students are taking the SAT more than once. Since 2005, the percentage of students taking the SAT more than once has dropped from 63 percent to 55 percent. This is significant because students who take the test more than once often score higher the second time. Since the College Board reports the scores of the last test a student takes, this could pull the scores down.    This drop in SAT retesters coincides with an increase in the number of students who are taking the ACT. In 2008, about 38 percent of Georgia's seniors took the ACT and the state's composite score and national rank jumped.    "Georgia is not just an "SAT state" anymore," Superintendent Cox said. "But we are committing ourselves to providing a high-quality education to all students so they are ready for the SAT, the ACT or whatever challenge they face in the 21st century."   MORE INFORMATION   -  College Board Press Release  -  Information on Georgia's ACT Scores    SCHOOL AND SYSTEM LEVEL RESULTS   A NOTE ABOUT THESE SCORES: This system- and school-level data has been provided by the College Board. Every year, when the SAT scores are released, some schools and school systems finds errors in the data and ask the College Board to make corrections. Before using or publishing this data, the media is encouraged to contact local system officials and see if they have asked for any corrections to their SAT scores. The GaDOE does not produce or own this data and any media inquires about corrections or concerns should be directed to the College Board.      The state scores included on these spreadsheets are for public schools only. The results reflect the average score of 2008 seniors for the last test they took.   -  School-level SAT Scores  (Excel)  -  System-level SAT Scores  (Excel)  -  School-level SAT Scores  (PDF) -  System-level SAT Scores  (PDF)