Rockdale school superintendent: Scores on national tests improving

CONYERS -- Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Richard Autry knows that local student test scores are not on par with national scores, but he is impressed with the upward trend.

He recently reported to the Rockdale County Board of Education that local schools' scores are headed in the right direction, and the state's are as well.

Georgia was the only state with improved scores for the SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement exams and the National Assessment of Educational Progress in math, reading and science, Autry reported.

Twenty-six states showed improvement on the SAT, 11 on the SAT and ACT and 10 on the SAT, ACT and AP exams. Only five showed improvement when adding those with an increase in performance on the NAEP math, and only two (Georgia and New Jersey) showed improvement in all of those plus the NAEP reading, leaving Georgia as the only state left when adding in NAEP science.

RCPS also showed an increase in the areas -- a 7-point increase in the SAT, a .1-point increase on the ACT and a .8-point increase on the AP exams. He said no district data is available for the NAEP because they are samples and don't report composite scores.

"These are national assessments. We've got a long way to go for the SAT to get to the state and national levels, and the state has a long way to go too; however, we can't get there without showing an upward trend," Autry said.

The 2012 SAT results for high school seniors last school year released by the College Board showed that 694 students in RCPS scored an average of 1,356 on the test, out of a possible score of 2,400. The more than 73,000 students across the state who took the test scored an average of 1,452, while the national average was 1,498.

Rockdale's 2012 ACT composite average was a 19.6 out of a possible score of 36, compared to the state's average of 20.7 and the nation's average of 21.1.

Autry said the improving data shows that the processes that RCPS has in place are working.

"We don't have to start over," he said. "We have much work to do, but it's some validation that what we're doing is yielding some gains. We will continue to work, but some positive trend lines is what we need to see."