Georgia public-school students improved their performance on the SAT in 2018 and outperformed their counterparts in the nation’s public schools, recording a mean score of 1054 compared to the national mean of 1049.

Increases in participation are often accompanied by a slight decrease in scores, but Georgia’s improvements took place even as more students took the SAT. Sixty-six percent of Georgia’s public-school class of 2018 took the SAT during high school, compared to 59 percent of the class of 2017.

“We are seeing historic improvements in our education outcomes here in Georgia,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “On the SAT, which was once used to label Georgia as ‘last in the nation’ in education, Georgia’s public-school students are now beating the national average – that’s in addition to an all-time-high graduation rate and students beating the national average on the ACT as well. We have made unprecedented investments in a well-rounded, student-centered education system and we’re seeing the results of that shift. Most importantly, our students and educators have worked tirelessly, and I commend them. Every educator, student, and supporter of public education in this state should feel a deep pride in the progress our schools are making.”

In evidence-based reading and writing, Georgia students outperformed the nation by eight points, recording a score of 537 compared to the national average of 529. In math, Georgia students were slightly behind the national average of 520, but increased the state average to 517, from 510 in 2017.

“I’m encouraged to see Georgia’s performance in math improving, and am confident that trend will continue,” Woods said. “We’ve worked in the last several years to restore our districts’ options for high school math instruction and allow them to teach math more traditionally if that’s what works for their community. I think we’ll continue to see positive results from that common-sense approach.”

In Georgia, 42 percent of public-school students met both of the College Board’s College Readiness Benchmarks. Seventy-three percent met the ERW benchmark and 43 percent met the math benchmark.

According to the College Board, students who meet the College Readiness Benchmarks show they are likely ready to take and succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing college courses.

Georgia’s 2018 scores also brought positive news in the area of equity.

According to the department of education, black students in Georgia’s public-school class of 2018 recorded a mean score of 961, higher than the national mean of 935 and an increase over 2017’s mean score of 953. Georgia’s Hispanic or Latino students recorded a mean score of 1022, an increase over 2017’s mean of 1016 and significantly higher than the national mean of 979.

The 2017 SAT results set a new baseline for year-to-year comparisons. Results from earlier reports were based on the old SAT, which had a different score scale and different benchmarks. The 2017 and 2018 SAT scores are comparable, but comparisons to 2016 or earlier are not accurate.