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SAT scores remain below state, nation

COVINGTON - Students in the Newton County School System continued to score below state and national averages on the SAT this year, according to results released by the College Board and the Newton County School System.

Results show that averages at the three individual high schools in NCSS, and therefore the system as a whole, were below the average of Georgia public schools, as well as national public schools.

The total system average this year was 1,391, compared to the state public school average of 1,453 and the national public school average of 1,495. Last year, the system average was 1,425, below the state average of 1,472 and the national average of 1,511.

"We have begun evaluating the SAT data and looking for root causes for the decline in scores," said Kathy Reese, director of the high school curriculum for NCSS, in a news release. "A plan for improvement will be developed."

The SAT Reasoning Test, which is given seven times per year at various locations in the United States, is one college entrance exam used at most colleges and universities in Georgia and across the world. It is graded on a scale of 200 to 800 in each section of critical reading, math and writing.

In comparison to overall testing averages, which include private and independent schools, NCSS averages also were below the state average of 1,466 and the national average of 1,511.

Roderick Sams, principal at Newton High School, said he is "confident" the decreasing SAT scores trend will reverse.

"Our Student Services Department is working diligently to provide guidance to our students and parents on the SAT preparation process, and teachers are working together to provide quality instruction," he said in a news release. "As we continue to focus our efforts on improving student achievement, all assessment scores at Newton High School will increase."

On another college entrance exam, the ACT, or the American College Test, average results showed that students in NCSS scored 1.5 points below the state and two points below the nation. The number of NCSS students taking the ACT increased by 110 students this year. The number of NCSS students taking the SAT increased by 44 students this year.

"Unlike the SAT, the ACT has become the more predominant test required for entry into colleges and universities," said Eastside High School Principal Robert Daria in a news release. "We have continuously shown by the number of test takers that we have a highly ambitious group of students dedicated to their postsecondary education. ... As always, we are proud of the efforts of our students."

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.