Number of Atlanta Public School Students Taking the SAT and ACT Has Increased

Atlanta Public Schools’ (APS) 2018 graduating class had an average total SAT score of 997 and an average composite ACT score of 18.7, according to results released today by the College Board. The number of APS graduates taking the SAT and ACT has been steadily increasing over the past four years with an additional 250 students taking the SAT in 2018 for a total of 1,382 and an additional 52 graduates taking the ACT for a total of 1,753 when compared to the number of test takers in 2017.

This year’s SAT scores are up five (5) points compared to the 2017 average score of 992, and the ACT results show a slight decrease of 0.3 points over last year.

The five-point increase in the average total SAT score is split between gains on the evidence-based reading and writing (ERW) and math sections. African American students – the largest subgroup in APS – had an average total SAT score of 948 (up from 946 for 2017 graduates). This is higher than the national average of 935 but slightly below the state average of 961. In addition, African-American students had an average composite ACT score of 17.3, which is slightly below the state average of 18.0 but above the national average of 16.9.

Grady High School topped all APS high schools on the SAT and ACT with a total mean score of 1128 on the SAT and 23.2 on the ACT.

“I continue to be encouraged by the academic gains our students are making across a number of academic performance measures,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen. “We’re seeing a slight improvement on SAT scores since last year, and although there was a 0.3 point decline on the ACT, we’re still seeing gains across subgroups since 2014.”

Some 29% of APS SAT test takers met both the ERW and math benchmarks for college and career readiness (score of 480 or higher on the ERW section and 530 or higher on the math section).  In addition, 60% of students met the ERW benchmark and 31% met the math benchmark.  The percentage of students meeting the math benchmark increased slightly from 2017 (30%) to 2018, while the percentage of students meeting both benchmarks remained at 29%.
The percentages of ACT test takers meeting the college readiness benchmark scores were higher in English (42%) and reading (30%) than in math (22%) and science (20%).  Some 14% of test takers met the benchmarks in all four subject areas and 21% of test takers met the benchmarks in at least three of four subject areas.  All of these percentages represent increases since 2014.

Definitions

The SAT is a college entrance exam and has two subject area scores ERW and math as well as a composite score.  Each subject is scored out of 800 points, and the total score is out of 1600 points. The ACT is a college entrance exam and has four subject area scores (English, mathematics, reading, and science) as well as a composite score.  All scores (subject and composite) range from one to 36.

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