Cherokee County SAT scores: Highest in state followed by Fulton, Oconee, Decatur and Forsyth


Cherokee County sent out a release on its 2012 SAT scores, which, for all three testing areas, are the state’s highest.

The Cherokee County School District has posted the highest SAT district average score in the state of Georgia for 2012, based on an analysis of statewide data released on Monday by the state Department of Education and the College Board.

While internal analysis had shown the CCSD score, a 28-point increase from the 2011 average total, was the highest in the District’s history, a review of the scores across the state reveals CCSD to have the highest district-wide average as well, with a total score of 1587.  The next closest district average for 2012 is 1580 (Fulton County).

“Congratulations to the students, parents, teachers and administrators on making Cherokee County School District No. 1 in the State of Georgia,” said Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo, Superintendent of Schools.  “What is important about this distinction is that it shows our school district offers consistent academic quality throughout the county.  Among our high schools, the difference from the highest to lowest SAT average this year is less than 50 points, which assures parents that no matter which high school their child attends, they are assured of having access to challenging coursework and academic rigor that will prepare them for the future.”

Among 450 high schools in Georgia, all five CCSD high schools ranked in the top 8 percent.  Etowah HS was 16 in the state, followed by Cherokee HS at 23, Creekview HS at 25, Woodstock HS at 32 and Sequoyah HS at 35.  All five schools posted an increase over 2011 scores.  River Ridge HS will post its first SAT scores with its inaugural senior class in 2013.

In my 25 years in Atlanta,  I have seen an incredible transformation in Cherokee, which has become noted for its schools. I saw that at a lacrosse game years ago against a Cherokee-based team. I talked to some of the parents who had moved to Georgia from the Northeast — and they chose to live in Cherokee for the schools.

Congrats to the county for investing in its schools. Keep it up.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

47 comments Add your comment


September 27th, 2012
11:49 am

Wonder what financial cuts they are implementing in Cherokee? Teacher furloughs? Pay reductions? Good work Cherokee!

Jerry Eads

September 27th, 2012
11:51 am

For lack of a better indicator, what would be useful would be to post each system’s free & reduced lunch percentages alongside those scores. While a part of an SAT (and every other) test score is the “value-added” from the education system, a MUCH larger component is the level of opportunity the kids bring with them, quite strongly related to their families’ socio-economic level.


September 27th, 2012
11:57 am

i wonder if dekalb county would have high test scores if they seperated North Dekalb schools from south dekalb schools ?

Cathy L.

September 27th, 2012
12:07 pm

Thank you to the fine representation on the Cherokee School Board, at least some of the school board. The local Republican deligation is doing everything they can to force charter schools. This is a great way for their business friends to gain access to tax dollars. Watch our SAT scores fall…


September 27th, 2012
12:23 pm

Good teachers produce good students. They encourage, they motivate and they inspire children to achieve at the highest level. On the other hand, lousy teachers demand, yell, complain and are poorly prepared to teach anything. No matter how much jack mommie & daddy have, their children’s education is on the path to ruin without an informed, interested, selfless teacher. It has little to do with who is paying for lunch and much more with who is sitting at the front of the class. That is unless you’re still hawking Perry High Scope. Anybody know what year it is?


September 27th, 2012
12:30 pm

Individual schools in DeKalb, including Dunwoody High, perform very well on nationally normed tests like the SAT and certainly help pull up the county-level averages. But that’s stats for you … context is significant.


September 27th, 2012
12:42 pm

OK…before all the back slapping takes place…Please report the percentage of students eligible for this statistic that actually took the test. It’s like comparing Alabama SAT scores to Connecticut’s. Alabama traditional scores high on average SATs because the University System of Alabama (Auburn, UA, UAB, Troy, etc.) will take the ACT as the preferred entrance exam. So why take the SAT? Only 8 percent of graduating seniors in Alabama take the SAT…(students going to Ivy League or out of state schools). Connecticut is way below, but 79% of seniors take the SAT because the ACT is usually not accepted to small liberal arts colleges and state schools in CT. SO, how may Fulton County kids took the test?…How many Gwinnett County took the test? How many Cherokee Cty kids took the test, In one system, AP, Gifted, Honors, Reg Ed, Special Ed, ESOL, etc, MAY have ALL taken the test. In another it MAY be mostly all AP kids testing. THIS IS PROPAGANDA. Even the College Board peiple say that the practice of comparing entities by average SAT scores is not an accurate assessment. Comparing SAT scores is not a good litmus of educational success unless EVERY SINGLE student eligible takes the exam. Georgia HS Graduaion test used to be a better vehicle from which to draw conclusions because everybody used to take the assessment. So you get a complete picture. Otherwise you may be comparing elite students to general populations. Not a fair comparison.

Maureen Downey

September 27th, 2012
12:47 pm

@DrEd, I agree that SAT is a poor surrogate for school quality but it is one that Georgia lawmakers have used for years to both denigrate schools and reward them. (See Sonny Perdue’s Governor’s Cup Challenge.)
Georgia is a high participation state in the SAT. Most of our seniors take the test. (Maine has 100 percent but it mandates the test for its students.)

Karl Marx

September 27th, 2012
12:55 pm

Ok first did all Students take the SAT? No they did not and that is how they manipulate SAT or ACT scores. How many students took the ACT? What were those scores? Look this is not rocket science. Require that all students take the SAT then you can use it as a meaningful measure. Until then patting yourself on the back for SAT scores is a joke and makes the school system look inept.

Here is another question for Cherokee County. What is the debt to pupil ratio? That will scare anyone and it isn’t something they will talk about,

Old timer

September 27th, 2012
12:59 pm

TN mandates the ACTfor all juniors. It would be interesting though, to compare counties and both sets of scores. My daughters took both and had good scores on both…..
I know these are not the best way to compare, but if I was in the market for a house…..I would look at test scores and graduation rates.
Having lived in Ga most of my life….I applaud Cherokee County for their improvement in education. This does not just appear in high school. To have sweeping improvement begins at day one and encouraging parents to be involved in their child’s education.

Judge Smails

September 27th, 2012
1:02 pm

As a parent of two Cherokee students, I can attest to the quality and dedication of the teachers and administrators in the schools. It also helps that parents spend a good amount of time in the schools, working hand-in hand with the teachers.

This should be a wake up call to parents who drop their kids off in the morning and never give their kid’s education another thought. The schools are much more effective if the parents make them so.

I spend roughly 2 hours a week at my son’s high school, talking to teachers, listening to presentations and speaking to the classes (when asked). I have all of my kids teachers email addresses and cell #s and communicate with them on a regular basis.

My son is working on a Amercan History project for extra credit. I spent an hour texting his teacher back and forth last night, making sure he was doing all he was supposed to be doing. If you are not this involved in your childs eductaion, and want to know what the problem is…then go look in the mirror.

Karl Marx

September 27th, 2012
1:02 pm

“(Maine has 100 percent but it mandates the test for its students.)

No that is not true. Delaware is the only state with 100 percent SAT participation.

Karl Marx

September 27th, 2012
1:08 pm

BTW on Sept 24 there was an article in the AJC headlined

“Georgia’s SAT scores up but still below national average”

So much for being first of the worst


September 27th, 2012
1:18 pm

Karl: Alabama average SAT score is 1600 something. 8% of graduating seniors took the test. Connecticut is 1560 ish..88% took the SAT. Draw your own conclusions.


September 27th, 2012
1:23 pm

A link that the legislators dont want you to see. You might actually draw a different conclusion!

Maureen Downey

September 27th, 2012
1:34 pm

@Karl, From Maine education department. Maine has been using the SAT as its accountability test:

In the spring of 2011, Maine formally adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and Mathematics: A gradual 3-year phase-in of the CCSS has just begun across all Maine schools. Based on alignment studies documenting that the questions used on the SAT reflect the expectations of the CCSS, the MDOE will continue to administer the SAT as the state’s high school accountability measure through the spring of 2014. Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, Maine will transition its current ELA and Mathematics assessment program to the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC):, for all grades 3-8 and high school. The state’s Science assessment program will not be affected by the SBAC transition.


September 27th, 2012
1:49 pm

Who cares how they compare to other counties in Ga (demographics)? They increased over their previous records. That is something that should be applauded!

“While internal analysis had shown the CCSD score, a 28-point increase from the 2011 average total, was the highest in the District’s history, a review of the scores across the state reveals CCSD to have the highest district-wide average as well, with a total score of 1587.”

Good for them!

Truth in Moderation

September 27th, 2012
2:33 pm

Top schools:
GSMST 1941 (100% participation)
Brookwood 1614
North Gwinnett 1595
Parkview 1587
Gwinnett County

Seven Fulton schools are among the top 20 highest scoring schools in the state:
•Northview High School – 1769 (No. 2)
•Johns Creek High School – 1729 (No. 4)
•Milton High School – 1681 (No. 7)
•Roswell High School – 1677 (No.

Cherokee Cty. with 60% 2012 class participating:
CHS 1597
CVHS 1593
EHS 1615
SHS 1570

Hey Teacher

September 27th, 2012
2:52 pm

There are many studies which discuss the impact of SES on SAT scores which I could dig up if I wasn’t on lunch duty. It would be interesting to see the demographics (and not just race) of the individual schools on this list. The top schools on the list have few, if any, public housing complexes (or section 8) in their districts.

Hey Teacher

September 27th, 2012
2:53 pm

Correction — section eight housing –

Truth in Moderation

September 27th, 2012
3:16 pm

“At the state level, the rate of participation in the (SAT) test increased by one percentage point to 81 percent, well above the national rate of 31 percent. That gives Georgia the seventh-highest participation rate nationwide.”

Oconee County:
North Oconee High School 1590
Oconee County High 1551

Decatur High boasted a 93% participation rate in 2012.
Decatur High 1570

Forsyth County total test takers up to 1,671 in 2012.
Lambert HS 1609
South Forsyth HS 1606
West Forsyth HS 1567
Forsyth Central HS 1518
North Forsyth HS 1518


September 27th, 2012
3:48 pm

@Judge Smails – the fact that you spent an hour texting your HS aged son’s teacher about a school project doesn’t speak well for your son. By high school, he ought to be competent enough to communicate with his teacher about his assignments, without you running interference. Will you be making his bed for him when he goes away to college? Holding his hand during his job interviews? Being involved in your children’s education doesn’t mean taking over or jumping in when he ought to be able to handle it himself.

Georgia Coach

September 27th, 2012
3:54 pm

@Judge Smails is congratulating himself for being the proverbial helicopter parent. Ten years from now we will see how that worked out for him!

Truth in Moderation

September 27th, 2012
3:59 pm

Fayette County:
McIntosh High 1633
Starr’s Mill High 1605
Whitewater High 1516
Sandy Creek High 1456

Cobb County
80 percent took SAT countywide.

Walton 1743 (100% tested)
Pope 1645 (92% tested)
Lassiter 1636 (98% tested)
Wheeler 1611 (80% tested).

Truth in Moderation

September 27th, 2012
4:20 pm

If you look at the top four (if there are four!) high schools’ SAT scores for each county/city, as I have posted above, one gets a very different picture than the overall average.

New York City Schools:
Mean Critical Reading Score 2012: 434
Mean Writing Score 2012 430
Mean Math Score 2012 461
Average total 1325
COULD THIS BE CORRECT????? Please check!


September 27th, 2012
4:25 pm

@Judge Smails, what teacher is texting parents after hours? You call that dedication, I call it lunacy. What about the teacher’s family? Should they not have a life?

SES will always play a role in education. It doesn’t mean that students can’t succeed if they’re poor. It just means that won’t have a level playing field. When students at school A start kindergarten reading, while students at school B can’t even spell their name, the playing field has started uneven. This continues into highschool. I applaud these schools for improvement, however the highest scores will always come from the wealthiest neighborhoods.

bootney farnsworth

September 27th, 2012
6:17 pm

curious where how the private schools in each system stack up.

Pride and Joy

September 27th, 2012
8:07 pm

Old TImer is right. The SAT doesn’t tell the whole picture. You have to count how many students tooke the ACT and report those scores. I went to a Souther high school and planned to attend an in state STate school. I took the ACT, not the ACT. So when someone says Alabama makes good SAT scores but only 8% takes the test — you are drawing the wrong conclusion. maureen didn’t post all the important facts which are how many students took the ACT and SAT and what are both scores.

Really amazed

September 27th, 2012
8:14 pm

@Judge here we go again with the extra credit in high school. This is a form of grade inflation!! I have to agree with someone elses comment about contacting your hs teacher about this extra credit project. I also have a hs senior. I consider myself and husband very “hands on”. My son attends a very challenging private school that in no way will allow extra credit or mom to take over any assignment. Each child is responsible for his/her own work. Sometimes being “hands on” means letting one fail and learn from time to time. If you keep stepping in your child won’t be able to stand on his own feet when he is in college. Extra credit and re-takes are not allowed at your better colleges. Too much extra credit and re-takes going on in Georgia schools. This is why they added a min requirement for SAT/ACT to the HOPE scholarship program. If you were truly “hands on” you wouldn’t have allowed the extra credit in the first place.

Really amazed

September 27th, 2012
8:21 pm

@bootney, at my child’s private school the average sat for the graduating class of 2013 so far is 1850. Average ACT is 30. We have a senior class of 100. Five of the 100 have perfect SAT scores. I say so far because this is only from the first rounds of SAT/ACT scores. Students can still take them up until Jan. for 2013 admission deadlines.

Really amazed

September 27th, 2012
8:25 pm

All in all, I am very glad to hear Cherokee County SAT scores are now the highest in the state.

Truth in Moderation

September 27th, 2012
8:51 pm

@Really amazed
Those are great scores! Would you mind telling us what the tuition is at your school? What about the demographics? Thanks.

Really amazed

September 27th, 2012
9:23 pm

@TIM, it is a private school in Cobb. Tuition is a little high however our main goal for our child is for our child to get through college no matter how tough it becomes, not just get to it with extra credit and retakes. It has been a challenge with very challenging curric. however what he has learned most is how hard work pays off. He has been very active in many aspects of his school not only inside class but also outside the classroom. The students get involved!!!! The school isn’t for everyone. The student has to want the challenge and be willing to work hard for it.


September 27th, 2012
11:25 pm

@Truth in Moderation:

You left off Fayette County High School in your listing of Fayette County scores. Happen to know what it is?

Truth in Moderation

September 27th, 2012
11:43 pm

More SAT stats:

SAT benchmark: 1550
“More academically prepared for college with a 65% or greater probability of achieving a FYGPA of B- or higher.”

The following are my estimates based on the SAT graph:
A score of 1850:
About an 84% probability of achieving a FYGPA of B- or higher

A score of 1940:
About a 90% probability of achieving a FYGPA of B- or higher

A score of 1600:
About a 70% probability of achieving a FYGPA of B- or higher

A score of 1350:
About a 45% probability of achieving a FYGPA of B- or higher

SAT class of 2012:

56% had parents with 4 year degrees or higher.
51% white
16% hispanic
13% African American
12% Asian

Scores of 1200-1490 have a 79% probability at finishing 2 years of college. 64% probability of finishing 4 years.
1500-1790 have an 85% probability of finishing 2 years of college. 74% probability of finishing 4 years.
1800-2090 have a 92% probability of finishing 2 years of college. 83% probability of finishing 4 years

5% of 2012 test takers listed Education as an intended career path.
9% listed Engineering.

Truth in Moderation

September 27th, 2012
11:58 pm

“Fayette County High posted an average score of 1423, said Berry-Dreisbach.”

North ATL mom

September 28th, 2012
2:31 am

Usually, the list of top scores for SAT consists of almost all North Fulton/South Forsyth schools plus Walton in Cobb county. While the scores in counties like Cherokee are high overall, what they really indicate is that those counties have little variation across test scores. Counties like Fulton and Cobb have large differences in scores that pull the overall averages down, even though the top SAT scores arguably are located in the more affluent parts of those counties.


September 28th, 2012
8:49 am

Maureen, as others have said, PLEASE POST THE PARTICIPATION RATES. Otherwise the statistics are useless at best, pure propaganda and deceit at worst.

Maureen Downey

September 28th, 2012
9:55 am

@Rob, In the original SAT story, the statewide rate was given:
In Georgia, the participation rate for seniors last year was 81 percent, compared to the national average test-taking rate of only 31 percent. Georgia has the seventh highest participation rate in the nation.
You can find the number of test takers for individual schools in their state report cards.


September 28th, 2012
11:29 am

Thank you, Maureen, but the state rate does not mean much when we are comparing individual schools in Georgia. Only stats on participation and socioeconomic level would allow a useful comparison. Otherwise it seems misleading to publish a comparative chart of scores.

Ole Guy

September 28th, 2012
1:09 pm

One must wonder if the requisite skill for high SAT scores is the ability to spell SAT…The methodology my hs buds and I followed in prearation for the ACT was to not drink as much as we normally did on Friday nights and come home before midnight. While none of us could, in all non-guilt, claim to be the sharpest knives in the drawer, we somehow managed to do what was (under the threat of extreme unpleasantness) expected of us. No one tickled our sixes with this nonesense of “I’m better than you”. As with the propensity to award teachers for, essentially, doing that which is expected of them, we now do the very same…deserved or not…for these kids.

Truth in Moderation

September 28th, 2012
6:50 pm

‘No one tickled our sixes with this nonesense of “I’m better than you””

This is about parents getting a nationwide comparison of high schools with a measurement widely accepted by potential college choices. Like it or not, the numbers do make a difference. When it comes to getting that acceptance letter, colleges definitely let you know if other applicants are “better than you.” Those who would erase answers to cover the facts do the children no service.


September 28th, 2012
10:41 pm

The average doesn’t tell the story. My 7th grader scored much higher than Cherokee County’s average. If the entire ed policy aims for the average, you get the average. Not all kids need to go to college.

Enough already

September 28th, 2012
11:21 pm

I’m always amazed how public school naysayers are inclined to use SAT scores to point out deficiencies and then find ways to discredit student achievement by calling the statistics “useless at best, pure propaganda and deceit at worst.”


September 28th, 2012
11:32 pm

Must be why Chip Rogers wants to bust up the Cherokee Public Schools. I think he must be worried that with that many smart people…..he is bound to be shown for the moron he is and get his butt kicked out of the Senate. I wish Cherokee had a Senator they could support with pride rather than this blood sucking tick. By the way, Chip thinks government is fat but that did not stop him from getting a nice job for his brother at Erase to the Top!


September 30th, 2012
4:58 pm

@ Enough Already: I am a strong supporter of public schools and send my own child to one. My point is simply that, if you are going to publish comparative statistics, they need to be accompanied by participation rates and free/reduced lunch rates. Both of these statistics can have a powerful impact on SAT scores. In particular, a low participation rate could mean that a school is discouraging some of its lower-performing students to take the SAT. This in turn could artificially inflate school scores. As for free/reduced lunch rates, they are important because SAT scores have been shown to closely correlate to socioeconomic background. So, YES, without these two rates, the scores are “useless at best, pure propaganda and deceit at worst.”

[...] Originally Posted by aries4118 A job loss and a possible move (especially for children) is always a tough+sad situation. With that said, I think you are smart in considering a move to Cherokee County or Forsyth County in order to make things better for your family. Both Cherokee County and Forysth County have excellent schools. Based on your criteria… For Cherokee County, I recommend looking into the Sequoyah High Cluster and the Creekview High Cluster. The Arnold Mill Elementary School District in the River Ridge High Cluster could also be a good choice (see maps below).…Boundaries.pdf…uoyah%20HS.pdf…kview%20HS.pdf…0Mill%20ES.pdf For Forsyth County, I recommend looking into the West Forsyth High Cluster (see map and link below). OnPoint Map Viewer {Choose "High School" in the top right-hand corner} West Forsyth High / HomePage Here is some other useful information: Welcome Forsyth County Schools / Overview I hope this helps some. Good Luck! Cherokee County SAT scores: Highest in state followed by Fulton, Oconee, Decatur and Forsyth | Get S… [...]