The SAT is a college preparedness test that examines a student's knowledge and skills in math, critical reading and writing with a top score of 2,400 - 800 for each section. Most universities and colleges require students to take either the SAT or the ACT test for admission and scores are one factor that can determine acceptance to a certain university or college.
Two schools in the county - Bowdon High School with an average of 1,497 and Central High School with an average score of 1,471 - exceeded the state’s average score of 1,453. With 25 percent of seniors taking the test, Bowdon’s average score rose 53 points from an average of 1,418. At Central High School, 50 percent of students took the test and the average score remained close to last year’s average of 1,472.
Last school year, Central instituted an SAT preparation class and also enrolled all the students in the College Board preparation class online.
“I know that many of the seniors I work with had accessed it,” said Claudia Waldrop, guidance counselor for the senior class. “Last year, it was a really focused effort on our part to get those students enrolled in it. ... This year our English teachers are actually assigning students course work in the SAT prep class. Of course, we’re hoping that will not only boost our SAT scores, but just boost our over all scores for the whole school.”
Carrollton High School came close to the state average “ with 74 percent of students taking the test the average score was 1450, up 3 points from 2006-2007 scores.
Carrollton offers two SAT preparation programs, the Kaplan SAT tutoring program and a class during the school day.
“Kaplan’s really a test-taking strategy,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kent Edwards. “So, test familiarity is a big component of that. ... In the class they do some of the same things but then they go in there diagnostically and they give little benchmark diagnostic tests.”
The two-pronged approach allows the students to bone up on their weak spots and also to practice test questions that will be similar to the ones on the SAT, he said.
Villa Rica High School experienced a large drop in the average test score, going from 1,476 to 1,412 in the 2007-2008 school year.
“We weren’t overly concerned about the decrease, because our students increased in number from the amount of students who took it the year before,” said Principal Dennis Brown in a prepared statement delivered by his assistant. “With that increase, we had a broader range of scores.”
Temple High School, although it had the lowest score in the county, had the biggest jump in average score, rising from 1,355 to 1,407.
Mt. Zion also improved, rising from 1,381 to 1,430 in 2007-2008.
Jenny Howle, school counselor for Mt. Zion, said about 25 percent of students took the test.
The school doesn’t have an SAT preparation class, but does offer an online preparation for students. The students can access the test at their home, and probably do, she said. Two students took the preparation through Mt. Zion High’s virtual school, she said.
She said without the preparation the test can be shocking to the students.
“It’s just a very new test to them,” Howle said. “It’s different than anything they’ve ever taken before.”
Preparation for the SAT test is valuable not only because the student can attain a better score on that test, but also because it can help the students improve on other tests, including the Georgia High School Graduation Test, Waldrop said.
“The college board is so good at teaching critical thinking skills and a lot of our end of course tests and the high school graduation test focus on being able to think critically,” she said. “We’re hoping that these prep classes will help us all around.”