Dawson County Schools ranked 21st out of 181 school systems on SAT score performance in 2008.
The ranking places Dawson County in the top 12 percent of school systems throughout Georgia.
The average score for Dawson County students was 1,500, or 47 points above the state public schools average of 1,453.
“SATs are one indicator of a student’s readiness for college,” said Dawson County Superintendent Nicky Gilleland.
“There’s a lot more than that, but we are proud that our students have scored so well and of these steady improvements. We are proud of all the work the teachers and staff have poured into our students.”
Dawson County’s scores exceeded the state scores in all areas. With a 510 verbal, 498 math and 492 writing and 1,500 total, local scores also exceeded the national verbal scores.
“We are very pleased that our SAT scores compared so favorably with the top systems in Georgia and were competitive on the national level,” said Keith Porter, associate superintendent of Dawson County schools. “The strong SAT scores are an indication of the hard work and focus of our students, teachers and administrators.”
According to Gilleland, over the past eight years, the district has seen a steady increase of improvement on SAT scores.
“A lot of our success has to do with the new curriculum we’ve incorporated into the high school, like expanding AP classes. Those are college-level courses. We’ve expanded those quite a bit, as well as improving the honors and gifted classes,” he said.
Other efforts have been implemented to better prepare students for the SATs, including pre-SAT assessments for underclassmen.
“There are many ways that we have worked to improve our SAT scores,” Porter said. “We have utilized the PSAT assessment to test students in the ninth and 10th grades, rather than waiting until the students are in the 10th grade. The PSAT data is used to make instructional decisions for individual students and classes. We have also included parents by holding parent meetings for the purpose of discussing their child’s performance on the PSAT.”
The system opted to offer high school students the opportunity to take the PSATs twice to ensure optimum preparation for the SATs. The state pays for students to take the PSATs once, but the district also funded a second PSAT.
According to Gilleland, students become more familiar with the SATs by taking the PSATs more than once, if they so desire.
“They will gain a better grasp of what is expected of them on the SATs,” he said.
“We are proud of our accomplishments and will continue to make improvements so we do even better.”