SAT Scores: Neighbors and private schools surpass Cobb
by Lindsay Field
October 01, 2012 12:51 AM | 7242 views | 21 21 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Three of Cobb County’s largest private schools and some of the neighboring school districts continue to outperform both Cobb and Marietta school districts on the SATs, according to data released this week by the College Board.

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.
Comments
(21)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Cobb Educator A
|
October 02, 2012


I would love to hear the real explanation of why Mount Paran does not release their SAT scores to the public. It makes one think the scores are not as strong as the top performing public and private schools in Cobb County. Dr Tilley "the headmaster" of Mount Paran gives a comical explanation of why their student's SAT scores are not made public.

Public school ranges
|
October 01, 2012
Is there any way to get ranges from the public schools as well? Or have the private schools release averages like NCC? This would make it easier to compare apples to apples.
Public school teache
|
October 01, 2012
SAT scores are strongly correlated with income - hence why private schools and schools like Walton have much higher scores. The average SAT score for students coming from households making over $200,000 is 1707. Given those national averages, it's not surprising to see private scores posting scores in that range.
Marietta Resident
|
October 01, 2012
This is really disappointing news for the Marietta residents.I can’t believe that the MCS Board rewarded the Superintendent a bonus for this poor performance; Marietta High School decrease of 23 points compared to 2011 SAT results.Hopefully the board’s investment in new the Director positions at the Central Office will result in improved results this year.
Marietta Resident
|
October 01, 2012
This is really disappointing news for the Marietta residents.I can’t believe that the MCS Board rewarded the Superintendent a bonus for this poor performance; Marietta High School decrease of 23 points compared to 2011 SAT results.Hopefully the board’s investment in new the Director positions at the Central Office will result in improved results this year.
Laughing Out Loud
|
October 01, 2012
Mount Paran won't release scoring information because it does not justify the expense of sending a child there. They can manipulate these things when you only know your child's score, but when you realize the scores overall are not that elevated, it then becomes another thing entirely. It is a fine school for what it is....an escape from it's neighboring public schools, which Cobb County zoned into oblivion, but it is not in a league with the other prep schools in the area. And maybe not worth the 25K a year it costs to go there.
GAALA
|
October 02, 2012
Thumbs Up - I couldn't agree more.
anonymous
|
October 01, 2012
How about telling us how the kids did who took the ACT? The SAT isn't the only test score that colleges look at. With SAT it's all about the money for the SAT company. The more kids who take it and the more times they take it, the more money the SAT organization gets. They also send some of the dollars back to the schools. It's big business, not about how smart the kids are. ACT gives a more realistic view and not all about the money generated by kids taking the test.
anonymous
|
October 01, 2012
Why does this article omit:

* Participation Rate?

* Poverty rate correlations expressed by College Board?

* Demographics?

You can't make apple juice out of oranges! This article attempts to do so by leaving out critical data.

Taking only scores into account, Iowa might be viewed as superior to all other states, yet their SAT Participation Rate (% of Graduating Class taking the SAT test) is far less than 5%. Contrast that with Georgia's approximate participation rate of 74%.

Editors would serve this community well to provide this type of context to these stories. The public appearance is that the paper is attempting to cast an unwarranted bad light upon the Cobb district.

"Statistics"
|
October 01, 2012
Hmmmm....anyone with even the most basic knowledge of statistics knows that the larger the sample size, the closer to "average" the mean. So why is is surprising that a school with 49 or 93 students testing scored better than schools with 628 or 497 students? And let's not forget that private schools can choose to enroll or disenroll students based on their academic performance, whereas public schools must educate everyone. What a farce of an "article."
ApplesVSOnions
|
October 01, 2012
What percentage of each school's students who took the test were from low income households?

The comparison is 100% bogus.

Imagine comparing test scores (ANY test, btw) of a group of students who'd received private tutoring versus student who had not. Would you really be surprised to find that those who'd been tutored did better?

Statistically, this is a waste of ink/electrons/time.
Point?
|
October 01, 2012
So, the point of this story is . . .?

Private schools, which can say we'll admit this high-performing student but not that low-performing student, have higher SAT scores than public schools, which are required by law to admit every student? I'm shocked!

Seriously, what is the point of this story, unless it's to say that the public school scores (Cobb's at least) are pretty darn impressive considering?

Oh, and the score for Gwinnett is wrong. The correct score (according to Gwinnett's web site) is 1518, not 1581, so that kind of sinks the theory about Cobb's neighbors being so much better, doesn't it? The MDJ's readers deserve better than this kind of reporting.
Friendly Web Edtior
|
October 01, 2012
Thanks for the catch on the Gwinnett score. You are correct, and the story has been changed to note this. (1581 corrected to 1518 and copy changed to reflect this)

I don't think that the story indicated that anyone was "so much better" but only indicated which districts (and private schools) exceeded Cobb and Marietta's scores
Point?
|
October 01, 2012
I'm defensive because I went to a Cobb public high school, scored well on the SAT and ended up at a good college (UNC). Not so much the article itself, but the headline and the way the article is played with the chart, makes it look like a slap at the public schools, i.e., if you want your kids to score well on the SAT, you better send them to a private school or to a neighboring school district. Not really a fair, or accurate, argument to make.
@ Friendly Web Ed
|
October 01, 2012
While the article text has been corrected, the image associated with the article still reflects Gwinnett as having a score of 1581.
No clue
|
October 01, 2012
Thanks for the making the point that the rest of us with some common sense get. The editor is apparently clueless (or just mean spirited) because the real newsflash would be if the private schools didn't exceed the public schools. Given their small population of test takers, smaller class sizes and no mandate to teach every student that shows up, it's a given their scores would be higher. Also, since most are probably from a household with higher incomes with parents that are more driven to succeed and vested in their education (given the amount of money they're spending too), most private school students will be more successful than the average public school student whose parents have to be dragged to a parent teacher conference.

Given the state of our school board with it's agenda driven, vacuous members and the local media taking swipes at the school system in general whenever it can (rightly or wrongly), those of us with children in public schools are left in the middle, being beaten up from both sides while the educational system keeps getting further and further off course.

HFH
|
October 01, 2012
At some point, the subject of IQ and genetics must come up. It's everything. It's mildly entertaining, but mostly frustrating, to watch, for all these years, the evasion of the subject.
Friendly Web Editor
|
October 01, 2012
Cobb Taxpayer:

I think the story, headline and chart explain that the Cobb schools fell short of scores achieved by the local private schools and several surrounding counties.

As to the second part of your question, I am not sure what you are asking.
Cobb Taxpayer
|
October 01, 2012
Would some MDJ editor, publisher, or senior manager please explain the meaning of this front page headline, chart and text ? One more question, are private schools in Cobb earning the tuition paid by students ?
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides