Although the Newton County School System's overall SAT scores dropped this year, some students in the system are outpacing the state in all categories and the nation in two testing categories.

The system's students working toward a College Preparatory with Distinction diploma scored better than the state average in the critical reading and writing categories, according to information released from the College Board - the nonprofit educational association that sponsors the test. College prep with distinction students also bested both the state and the nation on the composite score.

"It is excellent to see that the overall average SAT scores of students enrolled in college preparatory courses with distinction in Newton County Schools are well above the state in all areas and above the nation in critical reading and writing," said Kathy Reese, director of high school curriculum for Newton County Schools. "These same students scored only one point below the national average in mathematics.

"Based on this information, these students have acquired a strong foundation in Newton County Schools for success in post-secondary education.

Reese said the system will continually work to improve scores in all subjects by increasing the scope of every course.

Overall, 275 Newton County School System students took the SAT. According to the College Board report, the most recent average scores for all Newton County students are 480 in critical reading, 481 in mathematics and 464 in writing, making a 1425 out of a possible 1600 composite score.

These district scores reflect a decrease of 10 points in critical reading, 21 points in mathematics and 11 points in writing when compared to the 2006 scores. In addition, the school system's most recent scores are lower than the state and national averages.

Although test scores did decrease across the board for the school system, report data also indicate national averages also decreased in every category. Georgia average scores decreased in math and writing and remained the same in critical reading.

At the school level, Alcovy High School students averaged 433 in critical reading, 437 in mathematics and 437 on the writing, making a composite score of 1307 on the most recent test.

Students in the college prep with distinction program, however, scored ten points higher than the state mathematics average and 14 points more than the Georgia writing average. The group's 497 writing score also bested the national score.

Overall, 18 Alcovy students took the SAT. As a new school, Alcovy High School has no previous scores for comparison purposes.

"I am proud of the accomplishments of all our students at Alcovy High School," said Dave Easterday, principal of Alcovy High School. "Since the SAT is not given to every student, it does not give a true picture of what we are accomplishing at Alcovy High School. "We will look at the SAT scores, however, and try to determine what areas we need to improve on for those students who do take the test."

Eastside High School's most recent average scores on the SAT did see a decrease from the school's 2006 scores.

The most recent report indicates 94 students took the test and their scores averaged 496 in critical reading, 494 in mathematics and 479 in writing, equaling a 1469 composite score.

The school reading score was two points higher than the state average.

Eastside's college prep with distinction students far outdistanced both the state and the nation in every category, averaging 526 in critical reading, 521 in mathematics and 511 in writing.

The group's scores bested the state in each category by more than 25 points. "Testing students on the SAT as well as the ACT is an integral part of the cumulative high school experience," said Robert Daria, principal of Eastside High School. "Each year, regardless of the type of test, variations will continue to be shown as we look at the overall posted averages.

"Although EHS showed an overall decrease on the SAT, it needs to be strongly noted that the majority of students did exceedingly well on the test and posted scores above state and national averages."

As with Eastside and the district, Newton High School's most recent scores reflect a decrease from the previous year.

The most recent report shows that 163 students took the test and as a group averaged 477 in critical reading, 478 in mathematics and 458 in writing, resulting in a 1413 composite score.

While the most recent overall scores were below the state and national averages, the school's college prep with distinction students topped the state average scores in all categories and the nation in two categories - critical reading and writing, as well as the composite.

"We are very encouraged as we disaggregate the test data, because our students continue to show progress in several critical areas," said Joe Gheesling, principal of Newton High School. "Although I would like for our composite scores to be higher, I am confident that the academic initiatives that we have implemented will result in improved SAT scores."

For more information on Newton County School System's 2007 SAT results, please contact the NCSS Public Relations Office at (770) 784-2908.