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Gwinnett's SAT scores top national average
Barrow County scores rise by 24 points

LAWRENCEVILLE - Although Gwinnett County Public Schools saw a three point drop this year in its average SAT score, the district's graduates outperformed their peers in the state by 55 points and the nation by 10 points.

The class of 2008 was the third group to take the new version of the SAT, which includes tests in critical reading, mathematics and writing. Gwinnett's composite score was 1,521 out of a possible 2,400 points.

The score is a good indicator of the rigor of the high school curriculum, said Dale Robbins, associate superintendent of teaching and learning.

"The community looks at it as a strong gauge or barometer of the academic health of our schools," Robbins said.

The SAT is used as a predictor of student success in college, and the school district is always looking for ways to improve student achievement, Robbins said. For example, the district's writing score of 495 was the lowest of the three tests, and the school system will focus on improving students' writing skills.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Barrow County, the school system's composite score of 1,477 was an increase of 24 points from the previous year and the second strongest single-year performance in the past 10 years.

Apalachee High School tested 11 more students than in 2007, but its composite score increased by 57 points to 1,475.

"We are very pleased to see our SAT scores rise," Apalachee High principal David McGee said. "This is a reflection of the efforts from our classrooms by the students and teachers as well as the assistance from our guidance office. Even though it is rewarding to top the state average, we will continue to strive to top the national average."

Barrow County Schools continues to have a vested interest in improving SAT scores, said Claire Miller, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. The district partnered with Kaplan K-12 Learning Services six years ago to design and implement a program to prepare students for the SAT. The SAT preparatory course is offered to the district's students at no cost.

At Buford High School, the composite SAT score dropped by 26 points to 1,481, which is still higher than the state's average of 1,466.

SideBar: SAT Scores

This chart shows the average SAT scores from public high schools in Gwinnett and Barrow counties. The reading, math and writing test scores range between 200 and 800, with 2,400 being the highest possible composite score.

High school, No. taking test, Reading score, Math score, Writing score, Composite score

Apalachee, 118, 498, 493, 484, 1,475

Berkmar, 286, 458, 483, 452, 1,393

Brookwood, 613, 543, 559, 536, 1,638

Buford, 116, 497, 498, 486, 1,481

Central Gwinnett, 280, 491, 509, 481, 1,481

Collins Hill, 599, 510, 538, 502, 1,550

Dacula, 282, 493, 504, 480, 1,477

Duluth, 318, 515, 538, 506, 1,559

Grayson, 457, 499, 506, 486, 1,491

Meadowcreek, 190, 431, 454, 426, 1,311

Mill Creek, 539, 506, 530, 492, 1,528

Norcross, 363, 519, 531, 512, 1,562

North Gwinnett, 537, 508, 534, 503, 1,545

Parkview, 561, 533, 549, 520, 1,602

Peachtree Ridge, 555, 502, 530, 501, 1,533

Phoenix, 22, 460, 489, 448, 1,397

Shiloh, 303, 477, 484, 466, 1,427

South Gwinnett, 349, 468, 473, 459, 1,400

Winder-Barrow, 164, 494, 496, 488, 1,478

Barrow County, 282, 496, 495, 486, 1,477

Gwinnett County, 6,254, 504, 522, 495, 1,521

Georgia, 51,591, 491, 493, 482, 1,466

United States, 1.5 million, 502, 515, 494, 1,511

Sources: Gwinnett County Public Schools, Barrow County Schools and Georgia Department of Education