2010 SAT scores
National average: 1509
Georgia average: 1453
Rockdale County (unofficial) average: 1399
Heritage High School
Number of test takers: 191
Reading mean: 499
Math mean: 487
Writing mean: 484
Rockdale County High School
Number of test takers: 199
Reading mean: 452
Math mean: 441
Writing mean: 431
Salem High School
Number of test takers: 212
Reading mean: 472
Math mean: 451
Writing mean: 446
For more information:
Georgia Department of Education: http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/
The College Board: http://www.collegeboard.com/
SAT scores drop in county, ACT scores hold steady (Aug. 25, 2009)
Rockdale subgroups score above national subgrops on ACT (Aug. 19, 2010)
Georgia high school students fared worse on the SAT college-entrance exam for the fourth year in a row, according to a report released Monday. Rockdale County students scored below the state and also mirrored the state's downward score trend.
The state's average score on the test was 1453, a seven-point drop from last year and a 24-point drop from 2006 when scores began to decrease steadily. The state also lags behind the national average score of 1509, which stayed flat this year.
In Rockdale County, the unoffical overall score average score for the class of 2010 was 1399, slightly lower than last year's score of 1405. Last year scores had dropped 58 points from the year before that. The college board has not yet officially released school system average scores, only school average scores.
Heritage High School's average was the highest of the three area high schools at 1470, followed by Salem with 1369 and Rockdale County High School with 1324.
Part of Georgia's decline is because the number of test-takers increased to 66,000 from last year's 63,000. Typically, states with larger pools of test takers have lower scores, particularly in states like Georgia with large minority populations that historically do not do as well on the exam as their white classmates.
This year, the scoring gap between Georgia's black and white students remained the same at 279 points with both groups dropping a point. That beats the national gap of 303 points between black and white students.
State schools Superintendent Brad Bryant said Georgia has revamped its math curriculum, which should show up in the scores when the high school class of 2012 takes the SAT. He said he is requesting data from the College Board, which administers the SAT, on how students taking harder classes perform on the test compared to students who do not.
"What I'm anxious to see is how our students that have worked their way through this more rigorous curriculum start to catch up with the rest of the nation in spite of the more diverse student population we're testing," Bryant said. "That's what we believe to be the foundational stepping stone to get us to better results on the SAT."
Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Samuel King said "This is not where we want our system to be; however, we feel that our long-term plan is the right approach to achieving an increase in our SAT scores."
King also focused on the role of advanced coursework. "Students who are enrolled in more rigorous coursework and who complete Advanced Placement (AP) courses will prove to be successful on standardized tests and with their college education. We have already begun the process of increasing rigor at all levels and our high schools have recently seen an increase in students taking Advanced Placement courses. We must remain steadfast in our efforts to continue to see these numbers increase."
He said the the school system planned to ensure students taking the SATs would be enrolled in SAT preparation classes.
The biggest decline for the state was in writing, where students scored 475 compared to last year's 479.
In math, Georgia students scored 490, a one-point drop from 2009. The critical reading score this year was 488, down two points from last year.
Tim Callahan, spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, said the scores show the state still isn't doing what needs to be done for children while making millions of dollars in cuts to schools.
"It just indicates that there's much, much more work to be done in terms of beefing up our curriculum and training our teachers on that curriculum, which has not been done," said Callahan, whose group represents nearly 80,000 Georgia educators.
Nationally, average scores on the SAT college entrance exam held steady this year as a record number of students and more minorities than ever took the test. The status quo was an improvement over a slight downward trend over the previous five years.
The average SAT score nationally remains down nine points since 2006, when the writing section was first included and the test moved to a combined 2400-point scale.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.