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Newton County SAT scores fall
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ALCOVY:  462 (unchanged) reading; 456 (+2) math; 449 (-2) writing

EASTSIDE: 492 (+18) reading; 479 (+18) math; 474 (+13) writing

NEWTON: 447 (-16) reading; 434 (-17) math; 437 (-20) writing

While more Newton County students took the SAT in 2010, average scores declined in all subject areas.

Average scores rose at Eastside High School, but dropped at Alcovy and Newton High schools.

The county teens also scored below state and national averages. Newton County scores dropped three points in reading, two in math and five in writing. Over five years, Newton County School System average scores have dropped 26 points in reading, 49 points in math and 24 points in writing, according to a press release from the school system that was released on Monday.

“Not unlike recent ACT results, our overall SAT results indicate we have work to do in better preparing our students for college,” Superintendent Gary Mathews said in a release.

The superintendent noted that in meetings last week with principals and counselors, he stressed the importance of preparing students for such testing through rigorous coursework. He said the Curriculum Instruction and Technology Department will work with school staff to create ways for students and parents to prep for the ACT and SAT.

“This will likely dictate that we in the school system stop, start, or amend doing some things,” Mathews said. “Certainly, our five-year SAT trend in reading, math and writing calls for such.”

Statewide, there was a two-point decline in reading, a one-point decrease in math and a four-point decrease in writing. Nationally, scores decreased in writing by one point, remained the same in reading and increased by a point in math.

According to the school system, 131 more students took the test this year (454 student’s total); 169 at Alcovy (69 more than last year); 113 at Eastside (one more than last year) and 172 at Newton (60 more than last year).

Many colleges and universities use the standardized tests to measure critical thinking skills needed for students to be academically successful in college. It is typically taken by students who are in their junior or senior years of high school and measure how well students can analyze and solve problems, according to the release. The SAT is scored on a scale of 200-800 with two sub-scores for writing.

Alcovy High School
Students maintained the Alcovy average score in reading and increased the math score by two points. The writing score dropped by two points.
“Alcovy’s performance on the SAT continues to be a focus for students, teachers, counselors and administration,” said Principal LaQuanda Brown. “As the data continues to be made available to us, the staff will begin to discuss plans for college readiness, and ensuring that we are doing all that we can in regards to preparing our students for life beyond high school.”  
She said some staff is researching ways to boost student testing performance, including researching summer readiness programs and transition programs.

Eastside High School

In math and reading, Eastside students raised average reading and math scores by 18 points, and writing by 13 points. Eastside students surpassed the state reading score by four points, according to the release.

“The administration and faculty of Eastside High School are extremely proud of our 2010 SAT data,” said Principal Dennis Roddenberry. “This group of students reversed a negative five-year trend that we had been experiencing.”

“Eastside deserves our kudos for student performance on the SAT,” said Mathews. “We look for this trend to continue even as more Eastside students take the SAT.”

Newton High School
SAT scores decreased by double digits at Newton, according to the release. Reading scores dropped by 16 percent and math scores dropped by 17 points, reading scores are down by 20 points.

“The decrease in SAT scores for Newton High School has raised curricular concerns that must be addressed,” said Carl Skinner, the interim principal. “Although we are not pleased with the scores, we are encouraged with the increased number of students participating in the SAT.”