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Clayton BOE concerned with test scores

JONESBORO — School board members agreed progress has been made in student performance on college entrance exams but stressed it is just not enough in Clayton County.

Board member Michael King was most vocal about results from the College Board’s 2013 SAT exam.

During Monday’s work session, King pointed out the average scores for test-takers in Clayton County Public Schools were far below averages in other large metro Atlanta districts.

Clayton students scored an average 1,271 out of 2,400 points on the SAT, compared to the statewide average of 1,452 and the 1,498 national average, according to data from the Georgia Department of Education.

In contrast, the data revealed Atlanta Public Schools averaged 1,335. The Cobb County School District averaged 1,515. The DeKalb County School System scored an average 1,341 points. Gwinnett County Public Schools averaged 1,513, and Fulton County Schools scored 1,567.

An emphatic King questioned students’ college readiness, saying the district’s average SAT scores reflect a student body that is not as prepared as others in the region.

Although most schools in the district experienced improved performance on the SAT overall, the district as a whole remained below the state average score — by nearly 200 points.

Each of the eight board members at the work session responded with concerns about student achievement, offering up their own suggestions from more regular testing and monitoring to giving teachers more autonomy.

“This is a conversation we need to have,” board member Jessie Goree said.

The board debated how administrators and teachers interpret state standards and use them to teach in the classroom.

Superintendent Luvenia Jackson said the standards are necessary in improving achievement.

“If you’re going to have a great lesson — not a good lesson, but if you’re going to have a great lesson — then every lesson should have all these components,” Jackson said, adding that administrators will be able review the results of the SAT and future national standardized exams like the ACT and the PSAT to determine in which areas students need the most help.

Officials said students will take the PSAT later this month.