By Eileen Steinhauer
Recently released statewide SAT scores show Pickens County students, on average, scored higher than the Georgia state average and they earned higher SAT scores in 2013 than in 2012.
According to the Georgia Department of Education, in the spring of 2013 Georgia students from across the state earned an average SAT score of 1452 out of a possible 2400. Pickens County students earned a 1475 average SAT score, which was 23 points higher than the state average. The local test-takers also beat last year’s average for Pickens County by 22 points.
The College Board says kids generally need at least a 1550 to do well and finish college.
Pickens County is part of the North Georgia Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA). Additional schools in this system include Cherokee County, Dalton City, Gilmer County, Murray County, and Whitfield County.
When compared to the region, Pickens County students had a higher SAT average than all of these systems except Cherokee County, which had an average of 1567. Cherokee County tied with Fulton County for the second highest SAT average in the state.
The Forsyth County school system led the state with an average score of 1580.
The national SAT average reported in 2013 was 1498. The Georgia state average fell below this mark with a 1452. However, 75 percent of Georgia’s senior class participated in the SAT. Nationally, only 43 percent of seniors take the SAT.
Traditionally, average SAT scores are lower when participation rates are higher. Georgia has the ninth highest participation rate in the nation.
“Members of the Pickens County Board of Education and system employees are extremely pleased with our students’ recent score on the SAT,” said Pickens County Schools Superintendent Dr. Lula Mae Perry. “Congratulations are extended to students, staff, administrators, and parents on a job well done. As superintendent, I am both excited and pleased with the increase in scores on this year’s SAT test administration.”
The SAT is an exam, run by the College Board, that tests students in reading, writing, and math skills. Each of the three sections of the test is scored from 200 to 800 points with a maximum total combined score of 2400.
Preparation for the SAT can be key in earning high marks on the test. According to Eddie McDonald, Pickens High School Principal, “We implemented a SAT prep class last year, which continues, and have increased the number of advanced placement and honors classes offered at the high school. Both of these initiatives may continue to help our students achieve well on the SAT.”
Perry added that PHS teachers have implemented a focus on SAT preparation and rigorous instruction across the curriculum and this has been aided by the new Bring Your Own Device initiative.
In order to prepare for the SAT “there has been a change in the curriculum that includes focused vocabulary instruction and an increase in rigor through the College and Career Georgia Performance Standards,” Dr. Perry said. “Students are also encouraged to participate in Dual Enrollment and Move on When Ready Programs.”