Recent Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) results from the College Board show most DeKalb County Schools remained relatively stagnant and below the state average in 2011, while Decatur High School scores improved.
Approximately 4,144 DeKalb County School System (DCSS) students took the SAT this past year out of nearly 6,130 graduating students. The system’s overall average rose from 1328 to 1334.
According to the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE), the state average dropped from 1453 to 1445 while the national average dropped from 1509 to 1500. However, Chamblee Charter High School, DeKalb School of the Arts and Lakeside High School remained above state and national average.
DCCS spokesman Walter Woods said the system makes an effort to give every student the opportunity to succeed on the SATs.
“We pay for all ninth graders to take the PSAT. At the same time we have an ongoing cooperation with teachers and offer after-school prep courses. I don’t think we’re showing a drop, which is a good thing that the scores are holding up,” Woods said.
Over the past year, the system has also developed a written curriculum and Woods said schools would most likely see a more substantial increase in scores in the years to come. Additionally, students are encouraged to take online prep courses, which are offered throughout the year.
“If a student wants to go to college we encourage those who are on that track to take the test; I think it’s up to the students. We want to provide every opportunity for every student and encourage them to look at all their options. We don’t want them to leave something off the table,” Woods said.
The recent scores showed Decatur High School seniors scored above state and national averages. Eighty-nine percent of the school’s graduating class took the SAT and its average score increased from 1513 to 1518. City Schools of Decatur Assistant Superintendent Thomas Van Soelen said that each year approximately 90 percent of the graduating seniors attend two- or four-year colleges.
“They are very multitudinous,” Van Soelen said of the annual results. “That’s the word we like to use to describe them because we are a very small school system so our data can go up or down.”
Decatur High School has several hundred students in comparison to DCSS, which has thousands. Van Soelen said it was much easier to predict annual trends in a larger system.
The school’s highest scores were on the critical reading portion of the test with an average of 516, which is 19 points above the national average and 31 points above Georgia’s average. The school’s math scores remained at 503 but Van Soelen said that was not such a bad thing.
“Do we have a trajectory of going up each year? No. But in some ways we weren’t sad that our math didn’t change when we look at our scores in comparison with the state and national averages,” Van Soelen said.