The College Board’s 2012 SAT report last week indicated that Georgia test participants jumped seven points while the national average declined.
Test scores in Liberty and Long counties mirror that duality, according to data available on the Georgia Department of Education website. Liberty County High School and Long County High School both saw increases similar to the state, while Bradwell Institute saw a decline in the means for all subject areas and composite scores.
Liberty CSS Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer gave the Liberty County Board of Education a news release from Georgia Schools Superintendent Dr. John Barge during a Sept. 25 work session.
“He points out some very significant improvement in the state SAT scores, and that’s something that Georgia’s worked really hard on in the last several years in education,” Scherer said.
District scores, which are more complex to calculate, have not yet been released, Scherer said. The board did not discuss the SAT scores, citing a desire to digest several documents Scherer presented.
The composite score for the 209 Bradwell Institute students who participated in 2012 was 1,350, down from 1,377 for the same number of test participants in 2011.
This year, Liberty County High School had 108 participants who averaged a 1,377 composite, up from 1,352 last year. Liberty also increased its test participants; last year, 89 students took the test, and 108 did this year.
This year, 59 Long County High School students had a mean composite of 1,285, compared with 51 test takers whose mean composite was 1,276 in 2011.
In 2012 scores, Liberty County High scored the highest in the three test areas of reading, math and writing. Long County High School scored the lowest.
Bradwell Institute had the greatest number of participants, a factor that can pull scores down, according to a press release from the Georgia Department of Education.
“Higher participation equals lower mean scores,” the state release said. “It is common for states that have high participation to have lower mean scores compared to states that have a very low participation rate.”
But Liberty’s data bucked that trend, since more Panthers participated in the test and the scores increased.
Numbers for Liberty and Long County schools indicate that all three lag behind the state’s 1,452 average and the nation’s 1,498.
Compared with neighboring high schools, Bryan and Tattnall county schools outperformed Liberty and Long, but Liberty and Long students outscored those in McIntosh County and several Savannah-Chatham schools.
Bryan County High School only had 40 test takers, but their composite mean was 1,458, slightly higher than the state average. Richmond Hill High School, which had 300 test participants, had an even higher composite mean of 1,509, according to a score matrix released by the College Board.
Tattnall County High School had 90 participants with a mean composite of 1,396 — higher than those in Liberty and Long, but still more than 59 points behind the state mean.
McIntosh Academy, the only public high school in McIntosh County, had 63 test-takers whose composite mean was 1,269.
Local schools held their own against most of the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System schools. Only two SCPSS schools outperformed all public schools in Liberty and Long.
The Savannah Arts Academy, a dedicated performing- and visual-arts school, exceeded the national average by almost 150 points. The 202 participants had a composite mean of 1,646.
Next was Johnson High School, which had 121 participants with a mean of 1,400.
Islands High School had 76 participants whose composite mean was 1,375 — two points lower than Liberty’s score, but greater than composite means for both Bradwell and Long. Jenkins High School had 164 participants with a mean of 1,344 — less than both Liberty and Bradwell, but greater than Long’s composite.
Savannah High School had 119 participants whose composite mean was 1,056. At Beach High School, 115 participants had a 1,110 composite. Groves High School had 180 test-takers whose mean was 1,173. Windsor Forest High School’s 152 participants had a mean of 1,281.
This year Georgia also saw the largest and most diverse group of graduating seniors in state history. Of the state’s 2012 college-bound seniors who took the SAT, 47 percent were minority students, up from 46 percent in 2011 and 39 percent in 2007, according to the GaDOE.