State, national SAT scores drop, SC #1 in improvement

SAT scores dropped nationwide this past year –and South Carolina’s scores did, too. State Education Superintendant Jim Rex says,”The scores dropped across the board. It dropped in our public schools–last year’s seniors who took the SAT—by about six points and our private schools dropped by about 22 points from the previous year,” says Rex.More South Carolinians participated last year in this voluntary test to enter college, while fewer kids took the test nationally.
As for the lower scores this year for the state and nation, Rex says,”It’s not clear to anyone, including the College Board, who administers the test, as to really what happened this year nationwide with public and private school students. But South Carolina is still progressing. Over the ten-year trend, which is really more important than any single year, South Carolina is still number one in the nation in terms of improvement.”
Rex cautions that the one-year dip in scores cannot be considered a trend right now, according to the College Board. He’s hoping that this is a one-year bump instead.
The public school seniors’ average composite score for reading, math and writing was down six points.
The national average dropped two points. South Carolina’s critical reading score was 482, compared to 496 nationally; math was 496, compared to 510 nationally; and writing scores were 20 points lower than the national average.
Private schools- by the state average, had a nine-point drop in scores. Among South Carolina’s private school seniors, average SAT scores dropped 22 points from the previous year.
Rex says that the state has world class schools:
“Forty-two high schools that had a composite score that was higher than the national average. So we have some students who are getting college credit in high school who are still knocking the ceiling out of the scores on the SAT and the ACT. WE still have some schools, though, we are not succeeding at that level and they still need to get access to the kind of courses they need take in order to succeed on the SAT.”
Part of that responsibility is the student’s, says Rex, “Because they have not thought about going to college and they’re a senior and they have not taken the coursework and have not prepared for the test. So all of our schools are going to have to do a better job, probably at the beginning of middle school in working with parents and students early in deciding if post-secondary education is in their future…and it should be, by the way.”
According the state’s education department, fewer public school students nationally took the SAT, while more South Carolina students took the test– a 5.7 percent decrease nationally compared to a 2.4 percent increase in South Carolina.

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