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SAT scores drop for third year in state
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On the Net:

Georgia Department of Education:

The College Board:
ATLANTA - Georgia high school students performed worse on the SAT college-entrance exam than their predecessors for the third year in a row, continuing to lag behind the nation.

Georgia's average score on the test was 1,460 this year, a six-point drop since last year, according to data released Tuesday by the exam's administrators, the College Board. The national average score was 1,509 this year.

Georgia's steady drop in scores started in 2006, when the average score was 1,477 out of a possible 2,400. The following year, it dropped to 1,472, and then down to 1,466 last year.

The biggest decline for the state was in writing, where test takers scored 479, compared to 483 last year. In math, Georgia students scored 491, a two-point drop from 2008. The critical reading score was this year was 490, compared to 491 last year.

The state's black and Hispanic students taking the SAT continued to outperform the national average score for those groups.

Hispanic students in Georgia scored 1,412, which is 66 points higher than the national average score for Hispanics. For black students, this year's score was 1,274 - 10 points higher than the national average score for that group.

Still, those groups lagged behind their white peers and even lost ground from 2006. Hispanics scored 136 points below white peers, and blacks saw a 274-point gap.

"We certainly should be pleased that our achievement gap is smaller than the nation's, but we should not be satisfied with 274 and 136 point gaps," state schools Superintendent Kathy Cox said in a news release. "Clearly we must maintain - and expand - our commitment to providing all students a world-class education."

She was not immediately available for comment.

The number of Georgia students taking the test remained relatively flat at about 63,000 this year. That includes nearly 46,000 high school seniors, or about 71 percent of graduating students. Typically, states with larger pools of test takers fare worse in their scores.

Scores dropped nationally, too.

The high school class of 2009 scored a composite of 1,509, compared to last year's 1,511.

The College Board said it was the most diverse pool of test-takers ever. Forty percent were minorities and more than one-third reported their parents never attended college. More than a quarter reported English was not their first language at home.

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