While SAT scores at three of Columbia County’s public high schools barely changed compared to the previous year, two of the county’s schools are reporting scores heading in opposite directions.
Grovetown High School’s combined score increased by more than 48 points to 1412 compared with the previous year, even though the number of students taking the test more than doubled. But Harlem High, which two years ago lost much of its population to Grovetown, kept roughly the same number of test-takers yet saw a drop of 39 points to 1400.
“Our primary focus over the last two years has been to raise student awareness of what they are capable of achieving academically, as well as our great teachers giving them the tools and the mindset to accomplish these goals,” Grovetown Principal Penny Jackson wrote in an e-mail.
She also credited the new state curriculum, which she said “allows all students to be exposed to a broader range of academic areas.”
Harlem Principal Dietmar Perez said he didn’t have a specific answer for why the school’s scores dropped, with the largest decreases coming in critical reading and writing – areas where teachers are increasing their efforts, he said.
“We will have an SAT prep class as part of our after school program,” Perez said. He said the school will work on having the SAT administered at a site closer to the school rather than across the county at Evans High.
The scores were presented Tuesday night at the Columbia County Board of Education meeting.
Despite a small drop overall, “we’re still performing as a school system above state and national SAT scores,” Superintendent Charles Nagle said.
As a whole, the county’s combined score is 1505, beating the state score of 1445 and slightly ahead of the 1500 national average.
Lakeside High School continues to turn in the highest scores in the county with a combined 1601, followed by Greenbrier with 1524 and Evans with 1468.