Empowering Dreams for the Future

CCSD News and Announcements
For Immediate Release
For more information contact:
September 14, 2011
Jay Dillon (770) 426-3345

Cobb Graduates' SAT Scores Hold Steady; Six Schools Post Significant Increases
Achievement Gap Among Student Groups Narrows

The average SAT score for Cobb County's 2011 graduating seniors held steady at 1522, with six high schools showing an overall increase of more than 10 points over last year's scores. The Cobb average has again topped both the national and state averages, both of which declined, and Cobb's results show the district is continuing to make progress in closing the achievement gap among student groups.

Osborne High School posted the District's largest year-to-year gain with an average of 1246, a 52-point increase from 2010; other schools making improvements over last year include McEachern (34 points), Allatoona (32 points), Pope (21 points), Sprayberry (19 points), and Walton (12 points). While Cobb's class of 2011 maintained the same average SAT score, the state average declined eight points (1445) and the national average dipped nine points (1500). Seven of Cobb's 16 high schools had combined totals higher than the national average, including Harrison, Kell, Kennesaw Mountain, Lassiter, Pope, Walton and Wheeler.

The District also saw a significant jump in the participation rate for the SAT in 2011; 81 percent of Cobb's total 2011 graduating class voluntarily took the SAT, compared to just 67 percent in 2010. Typically, scores tend to decrease when participation rises, but Cobb's 2011 seniors maintained the same average score from 2010 despite the much higher number of students taking the test this year. Even as more students have shifted toward the ACT in recent years, the SAT remains a popular and recognizable measure of college readiness.

Cobb students' two-point increase in the Writing area of the test (497) helped offset one-point decreases in the Reading (510) and Mathematics (515) segments. National and state scores declined in all three subject areas.

In the diverse class of 2011, Cobb saw an increase in the numbers of Black and Hispanic test takers, and a slight decline in Asian, White and Multi-racial students taking the test. Hispanic students posted a six-point increase (1428) in average SAT score over 2010. Black students posted a two-point increase (1322), and White students posted a single point gain (1617). These scores are an indicator that Cobb continues to close the achievement gap for lower-scoring student groups, while sustaining the performance of student groups that have traditionally scored higher on average. Closing the achievement gap among student groups is a top goal for the Board of Education and Dr. Hinojosa in 2011.

"By comparison with the state and nation, our high school graduates are well prepared for college and careers," said Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa. "We need to be diligent with instruction, especially in Reading and Math and with new standards on the horizon. Considering our students' strong performance on the ACT and the SAT, I am confident that colleges and universities across the nation will continue to see Cobb County students as well-prepared and competitive."

The SAT is designed to predict a student's potential for success in the first year of college. It tests students' knowledge and application of Reading, Writing and Math. The writing section of the test asks students to write an essay that requires them to take a position on an issue and use reasoning and examples to support their position. The Math section of the test includes topics from third-year college-preparatory math, such as exponential growth, absolute value, functional notation, and negative and fractional exponents. The Critical Reading section, previously known as the Verbal section, includes short and long reading passages.

Many factors affect SAT scores from year to year, including the percentage of students taking the test, student academic preparation, knowledge of English, parents' education, and locality. Cobb information shows that the higher the grades and rank-in-class achieved, generally the higher the mean SAT scores.

This year's SAT release reflects changes in the way the College Board calculates scores. In prior years, averages for schools, districts and the nation were based on scores for seniors taking the SAT through March of the reporting year. In order to provide a more complete view of the college-bound population, 2011 trend data details are based on a "full cohort", which means it includes test scores through June of the reporting year. This change in calculation may have contributed to Cobb's increased participation rate for 2011. Historical data in this release has been adjusted based on the change.

Parents who desire more information about their student's SAT scores should contact counselors in the local high school who can provide proper interpretation to help make the best use of test results.

SAT scores for individual Cobb high schools are listed in Table II.

Click here to download the data tables.