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Forsyth County Schools among best on the SAT

FORSYTH COUNTY — SAT scores released by the state Department of Education show Forsyth County earned some of the highest scores last year in Georgia, a state that saw its overall average increase by five points as the national average dropped by seven.

With an average score of 1577, Forsyth County Schools recorded the highest district-wide SAT score among county school districts in the metro Atlanta area. It also was the top score in Georgia among the 23 districts that tested at least 500 students. In addition, the system earned the highest math score in the state.

“This year, the district increased in every subject area and exceeded the state mean by 127 points and the national mean by 87 points,” said Forsyth County School Superintendent Jeff Bearden.

He attributed these high marks to “outstanding teachers and hardworking students, and these results are a reflection of the progress they are achieving daily in our schools.”

Only Decatur City Schools (1581) and Oconee County Schools (1580) reported a higher system average.

The SAT is a standardized exam that colleges use to help determine whether to accept applicants. Students are scored on three sections — critical reading, math and writing — for a total possible score of 2400.

Forsyth County’s total average math score of 534 was the highest in the state for any district, up two points from 2014.


School-level scores


South Forsyth posted the highest average of the county’s public high schools. Its score of 1626 put them at 19thin the state for 2015 SAT results.

Lambert was not far behind, with a score of 1618 that was 21stin the state.

Three other schools’ test results put them close in rankings, too.

West Forsyth’s average of 1550 put it at 47thin Georgia, while iAchieve Virtual Academy ranked 50thwith a 1539. North Forsyth earned a 1534, which ranked 52ndin the state.

Forsyth Central scored a 1503 on the SAT, which was the 64thhighest in Georgia.

There were 418 public schools in Georgia that received a calculated average SAT score by testing at least five students.

Pinecrest Academy — private schools are not included in state averages or reports — had 46 students take the SAT last year, and they scored an average of 1716.


Statewide data


Forsyth County Schools tested 2,155 students in 2015, up from 1,946 in 2014. This follows a national trend of a larger and more diverse group of students taking the SAT, according to information released by the College Board.

A record 1.7 million students from the class of 2015 took the SAT, compared to 1.67 million students in 2014 and 1.65 million in 2011.

In Georgia, 76.9 percent of students took the exam, or 72,898.

Of those test takers, 39.8 percent were underrepresented minority students, up from 38.8 percent in 2014 and 38.1 percent in 2011.

On the PSAT/NMSQT — similar to the SAT but not as heavily weighted for college entrance and more appropriate to 10thand 11thgrades — 33,430 Georgia 11th-graders took the test, outscoring the nation in all three subjects.

Data released by the College Board also showed where Georgia’s college-bound students are heading.

Among 2015 high school graduates who took one of the College Board’s tests — SAT, PSAT/NMSQT or an Advanced Placement (AP) course exam — 58.3 percent are known to be enrolled in college, an increase from 57.2 percent the previous year.

Many of those students, or about 80 percent, enrolled in Georgia universities.

Data also show specific college choices, since SAT-takers have to tell the College Board where to send their scores.

Georgia Tech received the highest percentage (33.1) of student scores, followed by the University of Georgia, Kennesaw State University, Georgia Southern University, Georgia State University and the University of North Georgia.


Looking ahead


In March 2014, the College Board announced its plan to redesign the SAT and PSAT/NMSQT and to introduce the PSAT 10 and PSAT 8/9 in an effort to focus on what data show matter most for college and career readiness.

A similar focus on “depth over breadth” is highlighted in the redesign of AP course frameworks and exams so “teachers and students can take more time to practice the reasoning skills required for college-level work.”

According to the College Board, these redesigned courses and assessments will launch on a rolling basis, with the first administration of the PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 8/9 coming in October and the PSAT 10 and SAT in March.

Redesigned courses and exams in Advanced Placement art history and European history, along with a brand new course, AP research, which is part of the AP Capstone Program, launched at the beginning of this school year.