COVINGTON -- Newton County students on average are still scoring below state and national averages on college-entrance exams.
The 2012 SAT results for high school seniors last school year released by the College Board on Monday showed that 605 students in the Newton County School System scored an average total of 1,343 on the test out of a possible score of 2,400.
The more than 73,000 students across the state who took the test scored an average of 1,452. The national average was 1,498.
The SAT is a national college entrance exam that assesses how well students analyze and solve problems; typically students take it during their junior and/or senior year of high school. Each section has a possible score from 200 to 800.
In Newton County, students scored an average of 458 in critical reading, 442 in math and 443 in writing, compared to a state average of 488 in reading, 489 in math and 475 in writing.
Eastside High School was the only school to have a score above the state level. In critical reading, the 190 Eastside seniors scored an average of 489.
According to NCSS, the system's scores increased from last year in all areas overall -- 13 points overall in Newton. Alcovy High School's scores were the only ones to decrease -- down 10 points to 445 in reading and down 12 points to 428 in math.
"Overall, we're pleased that scores are up for each subject tested on the SAT for the district as a whole," said NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews. "Indeed, our increases last year outpaced that of the state and nation in reading and writing and equaled that in math. That said, as I've noted previously, the system has a ways to go on this college admissions test. The lag we see was not born overnight and will take years of further progress to overcome."
The SAT is administered seven times a year in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Territories, and six times a year overseas. Students may take the test multiple times over multiple years. Colleges and universities will use for admission purposes the highest score from a testing category, regardless of how many times the student has taken the test. The College Board, however, only reports collectively the most recent scores achieved by students.
The SAT scores of Georgia's 2012 senior class increased seven points, as the nation's scores decreased two points, according to the College Board.
"I'm extremely pleased that SAT scores increased so much this year," said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. "We jumped ahead of several states in our overall score, even as we saw our participation rate continue to increase."
Colleges also use the ACT as an entrance exam. Newton's 2012 ACT score was 18.8 out of a possible score of 36, compared to the state's average of 20.7 and the nation's average of 21.1.