This year’s SAT scores at many midstate high schools dipped from last year, mirroring a statewide trend, according to a report released Wednesday.
More Georgia students are taking the test than ever before, the report said, but their scores dropped for the fifth year in a row.
In 2011, eight out of 10 high school seniors took the college entrance exam, the Georgia Department of Education said. That figure placed Georgia fifth in the nation for the percentage of seniors taking the exam, which is made up of critical reading, mathematics and writing sections, each worth 800 points.
The number of students taking the test increased from 66,000 in 2010 to 72,510.
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Statewide, the average SAT score was 1445 out of a possible 2400, down from 1453 last year. Georgia also lagged behind the national average score of 1500, which dropped nine points from 2010.
SAT scores tend to drop as more students take the test, according to officials.
Almost all schools in Bibb and its six surrounding counties showed decreases in their year-to-year average scores, except Southwest and Westside high schools in Bibb County and Northside and Perry high schools in Warner Robins. Houston County High School had the highest scores in the region despite a 12-point decrease in scores compared to 2010.
“We still know there’s a lot of work to be done,” said Eric Payne, Houston County assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. “While it’s nice to be tops in the region, we’re not going to be satisfied until we’re tops in the nation.”
Almost all of Bibb County’s high schools have shown a net decrease in SAT scores over the past two years, according to school system data.
“The drop in our scores from year to year and over time is an indicator that we are not providing all students with the education they need to be successful on this test. And if they are not successful on this test, it becomes more difficult for them to get into a good college or university,” Bibb school Superintendent Romain Dallemand said in a news release.
This year’s group of test takers was also the most diverse, state officials said, as 46 percent of the test takers were minority students. That compares to last year’s 45 percent -- and is a 7 percentage point increase since 2007.
State Superintendent John Barge said Georgia has a high minority participation on the exam, and the achievement gap affects overall SAT scores more than most other states. The achievement gap among Georgia’s minority students is smaller than the gap nationwide, however, according to the state Department of Education. Black students trailed white students on the SAT by 262 points, 41 points below the national rate. The achievement gap among Hispanic and white students was 132 points, smaller than the 220-point gap nationwide.
Georgia students who completed a core curriculum, as well as honors and AP courses, outperformed those who did not.
Telegraph writer Caryn Grant contributed to this report. To contact writer Andrea Castillo, call 744-4331.