NORTH FULTON, Ga. — Led by a triple-digit increase at Johns Creek High School and Northview’s annual top showing, scores on the spring 2012 Scholastic Aptitude Test were the best in the state, if not the nation.
The average for the seven traditional high schools in North Fulton was 1,682 – besting the system average by 98 points and the state average by 230 points. Nationwide, the 2012 SAT score was 1498, continuing a downward trend that has resulted in the lowest math scores posted since 1999. The maximum score on the SAT is 2400.
Despite mixed news at the state and national level, North Fulton students, as a whole, have continued to improve their scores each year, although the increases for some schools are offset by falling scores at others.
Most notably are the scores at Alpharetta High School, which despite narrowly making it into the 10th spot among state schools, has seen its average score fall 57 points since its high point of 1717 in 2010. Scores also fell from last year at Chattahoochee and Centennial.
Northview High School continues to dominate all traditional high schools in the state, with an average score of 1769. Only the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology scored higher (1941); however, Northview tested nearly five times more students.
Rounding out the top 10 list among the state’s nearly 460 public high school were Johns Creek in fourth place with an average score of 1729, Milton High in seventh (1681), Roswell High in eighth (1677), Chattahoochee High in ninth (1674) and Alpharetta in 10th (1660).
In just a year’s span, Johns Creek High School has seen its scores rocket from 1561 in 2010 to 1729 this year – an overall increase of 168 points in a three-year span. Only six schools in the state scored above a 1700.
Additionally, five recent Fulton graduates earned perfect 2400 scores on the reading, math and writing sections of the exam, and six students earned perfect scores on the reading and math sections.
Georgia education officials have maintained the state’s relatively low averages are behind most other states because Georgia tests the majority of its graduating school students. This year, 81 percent of 2012 graduates took the test – compared to an average 31 percent nationwide. Participation numbers are even higher among Fulton County’s students, with 88 percent of the graduation class of 2012 taking the test.
Georgia ranks seventh among participation rates, but falls towards the bottom of the list when compared on average test scores alone.
“States with higher participation rates typically see lower average scores on the SAT and often see dips when the number of students taking the exam increases,” said State Superintendent John Barge in explaining the gap between Georgia and its peers.
The College Board, which administers the SAT, joins education officials in admonishing the media, which insists on running state rankings based on average scores alone.
“Media and others often rank states, districts and schools on the basis of SAT scores despite repeated warnings that such rankings are invalid. The SAT is a strong indicator of trends in the college-bound population, but it should never be used alone for such comparisons because demographics and other non-school factors can have a significant effect on scores,” explained Barge.
As far as where SAT scores are being sent from Georgia students, the top 10 receiving schools are:
University of Georgia
Georgia Southern University
Georgia State University
Kennesaw State University
Valdosta State University
University of West Georgia
Georgia College and State University
North Georgia College and State University
Top high schools by SAT scores:
1. Gwinnett School of Mathematics Science and Technology (103) / 1941
2. Northview High School (496) / 1769
3. Walton (Cobb) High School (628) / 1743
4. Johns Creek High School (408) / 1729
5. John S Davidson (Augusta) Fine Arts Magnet School (93) / 1721
6. Columbus (Muskogee) High School (333) / 1704
7. Milton High School (599) / 1681
8. Roswell High School (448) / 1677
9. Chattahoochee High School (360) / 1674
10. Alpharetta High School (484) / 1660