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Henry County Schools Standardized Test Scores Offer Promising Data Toward Closing Achievement Gap

HENRY COUNTY, GA – Scores on the 2023 SAT and ACT, recently released by the Georgia Department of Education, offer promising results for Henry County Schools as it relates to closing the achievement gap and providing opportunities, access, and outcomes for all students.

District-wide composite scores on both standardized tests slightly decreased – from 996 to 990 on the SAT and from 19.0 to 18.2 on the ACT – which is consistent with trends at the national and state level.

However, improvements were made at several schools and district-wide within specific student group outcomes.

  • Eagle’s Landing High School saw an improvement of 56 points on the SAT and 2.6 points on the ACT, while McDonough High (+8 points) and Woodland High (+1 point) also improved SAT performance.
  • Union Grove High (1048 on the SAT and 20.3 on the ACT) and Ola High (1044 on the SAT and 19.9 on the ACT) both exceeded the national average composite score on the SAT (1033) and ACT (19.5).
  • Black/African American students, who represented 61% of the district’s test takers on the SAT and 66% of test takers on the ACT, exceeded national average scores for that student group by 62 points on the SAT and 1.2 points on the ACT.
  • Additionally, Hispanic students, who represented 9% of the district’s test takers on the ACT, exceeded national average scores for that student group by 1.4 points.

“Our students’ performance reflects the district’s dedication to regaining ground lost during the pandemic,” said Henry County Schools Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis. “The Priority Student Outcomes in the district’s 2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan are designed to set up our students for success, and performance on standardized tests is one measure of how we prepare our graduates to be globally competitive.”

“We are extremely proud of our students’ performance given the disruptions of the last few years, and we are encouraged by the areas in which they placed HCS above the state and nation,” added Board Chair Annette Edwards (Dist. 2). “We will continue to invest in high-quality education in every classroom to enable all students to thrive in every endeavor.”

Overall, there were 1,377 SAT test takers from the district’s 10 high schools in 2023 – down from 1,429 in 2022. Locust Grove High, Ola High, Stockbridge High, and Woodland High saw increases in the number of students taking the SAT compared to the Class of 2022.

Additionally, there were 808 ACT test takers from the district in 2023 – down from 932 in 2022. McDonough High saw an increase of 32 students taking the ACT compared to the Class of 2022.

“The slight decrease in the number of test takers and our students’ performance follows national trends and primarily reflects the impact of disrupted schooling on the Class of 2023,” said Chief Learning and Performance Officer Termerion McCrary. “Recent reports indicate more than 80% of U.S. colleges and universities do not require applicants to take these college entrance examinations. Nevertheless, our students continue to explore opportunities to expand their postsecondary options beyond high school.”

The SAT measures students’ readiness for college by evaluating performance in Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW), with 800 being the highest possible score in each area. A maximum composite SAT score of 1600 consists of results from these two testing areas.

On the SAT, Eagle’s Landing High School (+29 points) and McDonough High School (+8 points) saw increased performance in ERW, while Eagle’s Landing High (+27 points), Woodland High (+6 points), Locust Grove High (+3 points), and McDonough High (+1 point) each improved in Math.

The ACT measures students’ readiness for college by evaluating performance in English, Math, Reading, and Science. Students receive a score between 1-36 on each subject test, and the composite score is the average across all four tests. Students also receive a STEM score, which is a composite score derived from the Math and Science test scores.

On the ACT, Eagle’s Landing High School improved in all tested areas – English (+3.5 points), Math (+1.8 points), Reading (+2.7 points), Science (+2.4 points), and STEM (+2.2 points) – while Woodland High improved in Math (+0.2 points).

“I am extremely proud of our performance increase in the areas of ACT and SAT scores. The increase speaks to the hard work and commitment to student achievement that our entire learning community embraces daily,” said Eagle’s Landing High Principal Dr. Kesha Jones. “This accomplishment is yet another example of Eagle’s Landing High School’s staff, students, and parents being hyper-focused on partnering with one another to prepare our students to compete academically at national levels. Great job, Eagles!”

Click here for the Georgia Department of Education’s press release on the SAT and access to school- and district-level scores, and click here for GaDOE’s press release on the ACT and access to scores.

About Henry County Schools

Henry County Schools (HCS) is the eighth-largest school district in Georgia, consisting of 52 schools, including two academies, located about 20 minutes south of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Over the past 20 years, our community has grown in population from 113,000 residents to over 244,000 residents. Since 1999, student enrollment has grown from 21,000 students to 43,000 students, and our number of employees has grown from 3,000 to 6,000.

HCS is “In Pursuit of Exceptional,” taking action to advance opportunities, access, and outcomes so that every student in our school district has Exceptional Support, Exceptional Access, and an Exceptional Future. In 2020, our Board of Education adopted our 2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan and laid out a clear vision and mission for Henry County Schools. Our vision is to ensure a high-quality, world-class education for every student, and our mission is to empower all students with exceptional opportunities and access that lead to success in a global society.