The Walker School in Marietta, which doesn’t report an average score, said the middle 50 percent of their students scored in the range of 1620 to 1900, Whitefield Academy in Mableton reported a similar range of 1580 to 1970, and North Cobb Christian School in Kennesaw reported an overall average score of 1533.
Mt. Paran Christian School in Kennesaw does not release SAT scores to the public.
In neighboring school districts, all but DeKalb County Schools, which reported a score of 1343, recorded a higher score than both local public school districts. Cherokee County Schools’ average score is 1587, followed by Fulton County Schools with 1580. Gwinnett County Schools trailed Cobb with a score of 1518.
Cobb Schools’ score is 1520, down two points from 2011, and Marietta High School reported a score of 1459, 23 points lower than 2011’s 1482. The state average is 1452, and the national average is 1498.
Cobb Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa said Thursday that he hasn’t compared Cobb Schools’ SAT scores to neighboring districts or area private schools but said as they move forward with the district’s newly revised Strategic Plan, it will be something that will be “germane” to the future targets and goals of the district.
Because Walker reports a range of scores rather than an exact average, it is not possible to determine whether students improved over last year’s test scores, but that doesn’t mean the school doesn’t strive to offer a multitude of options for students to better prepare them for the test.
For instance, Jean Bayer, Upper School Math Department chair, said the math curriculum focuses on problem-solving and embraces the numerical, graphical, analytical and verbal approach to learning mathematics.
“While this approach prepares our students well for college, it does not give them much practice with multiple-choice questions or getting to an answer as quickly as possible,” she said.
Kate McConnaughey, Upper School English Department chair, added to Bayer’s comments, saying, “Our PSAT and SAT review courses help students understand the specific format of the questions and provide strategies for taking that particular kind of standardized test. Often students with already good scores attend these review sessions as a way to sharpen their skills and further improve their scores — much the same way an athlete takes advantage of any extra training sessions.”
Both Bayer and McConnaughey also teach SAT prep classes at Walker on the weekends.
At Whitefield Academy, Headmaster Dr. John H. Lindsell said he was pleased with his students’ results. Last year they recorded an average score, 1745, rather than a range of scores as they did this year.
“We recognize that standardized testing is only one measure of a student’s preparation for college,” he said. “Their work in academics combined with their achievements in athletics, the arts and community service are even better indicators of how well a student will do in college and beyond.”
Todd Clingman, the head of school at North Cobb Christian, said they reported a slight decline in the score since last year but he couldn’t pinpoint exactly what caused the drop.
“I’ve been doing this 23 years, and you just have those year that are down a little bit more than others,” he said. “This was a smaller group, but I also think it’s a group that we had more students who joined us later on in school life, and that may have affected their numbers.”
They are striving to improve scores next year though and said North Cobb Christian School’s seniors “continue to lead the state of Georgia by a significant margin.”
Dr. David Tilley, Mt. Paran Christian School’s headmaster, said he and his administration have declined to release SAT scores to the public and referred to a letter he sent home last year to parents.
“The academic leadership at MPCS does not agree with the prevailing view that reducing the totality of a child’s educational and intellectual experience to a simple four digit number is legitimate,” a portion of the letter states. “Accurate conclusions regarding intellectual development and academic achievement cannot be inferred from these scores.
“Please rest assured that the SAT scores at MPCS are significantly ahead of local and national averages, but again, this data becomes meaningless when the criteria for reporting has not been consistently established.”
Tilley said his school’s decision to not release scores does not mean they are not proud of their students’ accomplishments.
He said he is encouraged by the Mt. Paran students, their individual test scores, academic accomplishments and the fact that 100 percent of their students attended college after graduation.
“Colleges attended by last year’s graduates include Columbia, Emory, Davidson, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Wheaton among many other fine institutions,” he said.