Increases were seen even as the rate of students taking the test increased by one percentage point to 81 percent, compared to the national average test-taking rate of only 31 percent. Georgia has the seventh highest participation rate in the nation. 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.
This year, Georgia also saw the largest and most diverse group of graduating seniors in state history. Of the state’s 2012 college-bound seniors who took the SAT, 47 percent were minority students, up from 46 percent in 2011 and 39 percent in 2007.
Georgia’s students scored 1,452 on the SAT, a seven-point increase from 2011. The national average was 1,498, a two-point decrease from 2011.
“I’m extremely pleased that SAT scores increased so much this year,” State School Superintendent John Barge said. “We jumped ahead of several states in our overall score, even as we saw our participation rate continue to increase.”
Minority students in Georgia’s schools continue to outperform their peers across the country on the SAT.
The 2012 SAT report shows that black and Hispanic students in Georgia are outperforming those subgroups nationally.
Georgia’s black students outscored their counterparts nationwide on two of the three SAT subsections.
Mean critical reading scores for Georgia’s black students are three points higher and mean writing scores are two points higher than that of African-American students nationwide.
Hispanic students in Georgia’s schools outperformed their counterparts nationwide on all three of the SAT subsections.
Mean critical reading scores for Georgia’s Hispanic students are 22 points higher, mean mathematics scores are 11 points higher and mean writing scores are 14 points higher than Hispanic students nationwide.
The difference between the scores of black and white students, called the achievement gap, is 270 points in Georgia, which is 35 points less than the achievement gap nationwide of 305. The gap between the scores of Hispanic and white students in Georgia is 148 points, 78 points lower than the 226-point difference nationwide.
It is common for states that have high participation to have lower mean scores compared to states that have a very low participation rate.
Media and others often rank states, districts and schools on the basis of SAT scores despite repeated warning 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.
If ranked, schools and states that encourage students to apply to college may be penalized because scores tend to decline with a rise in percentage of test takers.