Though Columbia County's SAT scores dropped five points this year, school officials say its scores are still well above the national and state average.
Columbia County pupils scored 513 on the verbal portion and 512 in math, for a total score of 1,025. The national average is 1,020 (504 verbal, 516 math) and the state average is 980 (489 verbal, 491 math).
Last year, Columbia County pupils scored 516 in the verbal and 514 in math for a total of 1,030.
"Overall our kids are scoring above the national average, and we're very proud of that," said Columbia County School Superintendent Tommy Price. "You would like to say they are continually on the rise, going up, up, up every year. But that's not realistic. Each year, they are a different group of kids. We like to look at trends to find strengths and weaknesses and see what areas might need to be beefed up."
Over the past five years in Columbia County, the verbal SAT score has increased by three points, while the math score has stayed the same.
"That doesn't give me any reason to be alarmed," Price said.
Figures released Tuesday by the College Board, the New York-based nonprofit organization that owns the SAT, show that 65 percent of Columbia County's graduating seniors took the test, but Price said he believes that is an error.
Last year 81 percent took the test, and he believes that number is about the same this year.
"We graduated 1,041, they are showing 841 taking the test, and by my calculation that's about 80 percent," Price said.
Price said he is angered by reports that Georgia is ranked 50th in the nation by the College Board, when states, such as No. 1-ranked North Dakota only has 4 percent of eligible pupils taking the test. Of the states ranked in the top 10, Michigan and Illinois had 11 percent taking the test, but all the others had less. Seventy-six percent of Georgia's seniors took the SAT in 2002.
"If you pulled out our top 10 percent, we're ahead of everyone on this list," Price said. "In fairness, people ought to know what they are looking at."
Columbia County pupils ranked in the top 10 percent of their class scored 1,243 (612 in verbal and 631 in math), as compared to the national average of 1,192 (585 verbal, 607 math), and 1,148 in Georgia (569 verbal, 579 math).
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