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State BoE: SAT drop due to number of takers
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The largest and most diverse group of graduating seniors in Georgia’s history took the SAT this year. The SAT participation rate for the Georgia class of 2010 — 74 percent — was among the top 10 in the nation. Of the state’s 2010 college-bound seniors who took the SAT, 44.6 percent were minority students, up from 35 percent in 2005 and 30.4 percent in 2000. In addition, 37.9 percent of the state’s SAT takers indicated that they are first-generation college attendees.
State School Superintendent Brad Bryant said he is encouraged by the number of minority students in Georgia who plan to go on to college and by the number of students who are the first in their families to seek a college education. “For Georgia’s students to remain competitive against other students across the U.S. and the world, we must commit ourselves to preparing all students for the challenges of college and careers,” Bryant said.
Georgia’s public, private and home-schooled students combined scored an average of 1,453 on the SAT and the national average was 1,509. Public school students alone scored 1,442 on the exam and the national average score was 1,497.
Georgia students have shown that those who take a core curriculum and more rigorous course work are better prepared for college-level work.
Completing a core curriculum is defined as taking four or more years of English, three or more years of mathematics, three or more years of natural science and three or more years of social science and history. Students who met those requirements outscored their classmates who did not take a core curriculum.
In July, the State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics for grades kindergarten through 12.
These state-led academic standards define the knowledge and skills students should gain throughout their education so they will graduate high school fully prepared for college and careers.
“The state board’s vote to adopt the Common Core State Standards was a huge step toward giving us a meaningful comparison of our students’ achievement with that of students in other states,” State Board of Education Chairwoman Wanda Barrs said. “Our students will be competing for jobs with students from all over the world and we must be able to compare ourselves to the rest of the U.S. and other countries to ensure that we are providing students with the tools they need to be globally competitive.”
The efforts to establish common core standards build on the success that has been achieved using rigorous curricula such as advanced placement programs. Studies show that students who score at least a 3 on AP exams in high school experience greater academic success in college and graduate from college at higher rates than their comparable, non-AP peers.
In addition, students who take more demanding honors or AP courses also tend to have higher SAT scores. For example, students who took English honors or AP courses scored 62 points higher in critical reading than the average of all students in Georgia and 61 points higher in writing.
Similarly, students who took math honors or AP courses had an 82-point advantage compared with the average SAT mathematics scores for the state.
Georgia had the fourth-greatest one-year increase in the number of public school AP exam-takers and the sixth-greatest one-year increase in the number of AP exam-takers receiving scores of 3-5.
“Georgia has made progress on many state and national tests, such as the ACT and the National Assessment of Educational Progress. But clearly we must maintain — and expand — our commitment to providing all students with academically rigorous courses,” Bryant said.

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