GCPS SAT scores decrease

SUWANEE -- While Gwinnett County Public Schools average SAT scores slipped several points from last year, the school system topped state and national averages, according to test results released Wednesday.

With an average composite score of 1511 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, the local school system fared better on all sections than state and national scores including the areas of reading, math and writing.

However, SAT averages at local, state and national levels decreased overall.

Last year, GCPS' average score on the 2,400-point test designed to measure critical thinking skills for college success was 1532. It's a 21-point difference from this year's score.

Sloan Roach, communications director for the school system, said that "typically, you do see a decrease in scores when more and more students are taking the test."

Roach added that the decreased overall test scores are "something we want to address. We want to help our students do better on the tests."

The average composite score of 1511 was a combination of the average critical reading score of 501, the average math score of 521 and average writing score of 489.

Test participation in Gwinnett County Public Schools continued to increase. The district has seen a 29.2 increase in SAT participation over the last two years.

In 2009, there were 5,796 students who took the SAT in Gwinnett. This past year, Gwinnett had 7,490 test takers--an increase of 1,700 students over a two-year period.

Roach said the system was "glad to see the numbers of students taking the test increasing. We think it speaks a lot to the rigor of our curriculum and the fact that more and more students are looking beyond high school and post-secondary opportunities."

Gwinnett's total SAT average is 11 points above the national average of 1500 and 66 points above the Georgia average of 1445.

At the state level, scores decreased by six points, but participation levels increased by six percent from last year.

The SAT is a college entrance exam that is developed, administered and scored by the College Board.

For more information, visit sat.collegeboard.org.