Colquitt County High School.

MOULTRIE, Ga. — In a world still struggling with the bad news of the coronavirus and much more, Colquitt County High School Principal Jamie Dixon was happy to get some good news to share Monday.

CCHS students showed remarkable gains on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, one of two tests many colleges use to help decide which students to admit.

“In my career I’ve had some good bumps,” Dixon said, “but I’ve never had a 39-point aggregate jump. That’s pretty significant.”

The aggregate is the average of the scores of all CCHS students. It was 1029, up 39 points from the previous year’s 990.

The SAT consists of a language section and a math section, with maximum score on each being 800. A perfect score on the whole test is 1600.

Both parts of the test showed improvement, Dixon said. Total Evidence-Based Reading and Writing rose by 24 points (from 505 last year to 529 this year). Total math rose by 14 points (from 486 to 500).

Some demographic breakdowns showed especially positive trends:

• Black students scored 69 points higher than last year (from 907 to 976).

• Hispanic students scored 37 points higher (from 935 to 972).

• Males’ scores improved by 30 points (1038 to 1068).

• 12% of CCHS students tested above average (above 1199) while only 5% tested below average (less than 800). The above-average number is the same as last year, but the below average number fell by 6 percentage points, Dixon said.

Dixon credits the improvement to the hard work of both the students and the teachers. He said teachers have been using data to identify problems and had been working to remediate students who didn’t get key concepts the first time through. The teachers in each discipline work together to find effective teaching methods, he said.

“We check our egos at the door,” he said. “… We’re comparing notes like never before.”

The SAT is generally taken by seniors and juniors. These scores represent tests taken during the 2019-2020 school year — but several scheduled tests were canceled due to the coronavirus.

“If we’d had spring scores we might even be higher,” Dixon said.

Colquitt County students returned to class Aug. 17, so the high school is already working on how to perform even better this year.

“We’ve not arrived by any stretch of the imagination,” Dixon said. “We’ve still got work to do.”

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