South Carolina’s public-school seniors scored higher on the SAT college admissions test last spring than the year before – a trend most Midlands districts failed to match.
S.C. seniors trailed their peers nationally, scoring an average of 1,429 out of a possible 2,400 points on the SAT in the 2013-14 school year – below the national average of 1,471, the S.C. Department of Education and College Board announced Tuesday.
Seniors in two of eight Midlands districts scored higher than the state and national averages.
Lexington-Richland 5 students scored an average of 1,513, the highest average among eight Midlands school districts, but down four points from last year. Lexington 1’s score stayed the same as the previous year, averaging 1,503 points.
Only students in two of eight Midlands school districts saw their SAT scores improve in the 2013-14 school year.
The Kershaw County school district’s average score improved 29 points to a 1,423 – the biggest improvement of any Midlands district. Richland 2’s average score improved four points to 1,407.
Three other Midlands districts saw their scores drop.
Lexington 3’s scores fell by 76 points to 1,297, Lexington 4’s scores fell by 71 points to 1,303, and Richland 1’s scores slid slightly by seven points to 1,364.
The average for students statewide was 1,429 points, six points higher than the previous year. That average showed moderate gains in two of the three test areas. In reading, S.C. students’ average scores increased to 483 from last year’s 479. In math, scores ticked up to 487 from 484. Scores decreased one point to 459 in writing.
Only one in three S.C. public-school seniors scored 1,550 or higher – the College’s Board’s measure that a student has a 65 percent chance of having a low B average or higher during their first year of college.
In comparison to S.C. students, 43 percent of students nationwide who took the SAT last school year scored at least a 1,550.
AP test popularity, scores also rise
S.C. public-school students also showed gains last spring over the year before on the College Board’s Advanced Placement tests, whose scores the College Board also released Tuesday.
In one year, students scoring a three or higher out of five possible points on Advanced Placement tests increased by about 7 percent, a Department of Education spokesman said.
The number of Advanced Placement tests taken by S.C. students also increased by nearly 8 percent, and the number of African-American students taking the advanced placement tests increased by 13 percent last spring over the year before.
S.C. schools Superintendent Mick Zais said the gains in the SAT and AP tests were positive, but the state must do more to prepare students for colleges and careers.
Zais said: “We must build upon these gains as we prepare students for life after high school, whether they’re joining the military, entering the workforce, or seeking higher education at one of our state’s superb technical colleges, or a four-year degree.”