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JONESBORO — Clayton County Public Schools students who took the SAT at Charles Drew High School, Elite Scholars Academy, Forest Park High School, Jonesboro High School, Lovejoy High School, and M.E. Stilwell School of the Arts in 2020 outperformed their district counterparts who took the test in 2019, improving each school’s composite score on the standardized test. The results were released Sept. 21, by the College Board and the Georgia Department of Education.

Elite Scholars Academy led the district with a composite score of 1,078. The 2020 score, which was higher than national and Georgia scores, represents a three-point increase over the 2019 composite. A composite score is made up of the average student performance on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing portion and the Math portion of the test. Stilwell School of the Arts equaled the state average and exceeded the national average with 1,043. Their score was four points higher than the school’s 2019 total.

The largest increase was reported for Lovejoy High School where test-takers demonstrated a 21-point increase in their composite score. Next highest improvement was reported for Jonesboro High School, which showed a 15-point upward bounce. Two other CCPS high schools showed improvement in their overall composite scores. Students taking the SAT in 2020 at Forest Park High increased their performance on the test, moving the school’s average to 924, a nine-point increase over 2019. In 2020, Charles Drew High School students scored a composite average of 925, representing a two-point improvement.

The composite scores earned on the SAT by the 1,636 participating students from Clayton County Public Schools during the 2019-2020 school year reflected a two-point decrease over scores posted in 2018-2019. As a district, CCPS scored a composite average of 943.

“It takes a certain level of courage to accept the challenge of taking the SAT, and I commend all 1,600-plus students at each of our 12 high schools who took the standardized test during the 2019-2020 school year,” said Dr. Morcease J. Beasley, CCPS superintendent. “I congratulate the six high schools, and the participating students and teachers, who demonstrated growth in 2020, with special praise directed to the test-takers at Elite Scholars and Stilwell for meeting or exceeding state and national average composite scores.”

Students are encouraged to take the SAT several times because the student wants to use his/her two highest scores. This means that a student may take the SAT multiple times to increase his/her overall score.

“To continue to give students more access, CCPS has implemented and will continue to utilize SAT School Day with all of our high schools,” said Kristie Heath, CCPS Advanced Learning, Gifted, & Intervention coordinator. “In March 11th grade students are able to take the SAT during the school day at their local high school. Students who participate in this initiative will have put in 10 or more hours on Khan Academy to prepare for the test and may also participate in afterschool support with their high school.”

“The increase in the number of students participating, along with the subsequent slight decrease in the average score on each exam, is due to the increased access and the removal of barriers to post secondary higher education opportunities for students,” said Dr. Alicia Dunn, CCPS director of Counseling, Enrollment and Post-Secondary Readiness. “The new opportunities were not possible without meeting admissions requirements for colleges/universities, inclusive of taking the SAT entrance exam. We anticipate that this should level out within the next year or two as our students are continuously exposed to academic rigor, along with supports, in their respective learning environments.”

“While we can hand a diploma to a graduating senior, that is not enough. We must work to prepare our students to be successful regardless of their post-secondary destination. We must have high academic expectations and support students so that they can achieve the success they deserve and that we should expect of them,” Beasley said. “Through our Advanced Learning for All initiative, we will continue to provide access to problem-based learning even as we ramp up academic rigor across all grade levels and increase the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses and participating in Dual Enrollment programs.”

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