NC SAT Scores Slightly Below Average
Special Report - August 27, 2009
Fewer public school students in North Carolina took the SAT in 2009 than in the previous year, with public school students scoring three points behind the national average in critical reading and math, according to the latest SAT data from College Board. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction released its analysis of the state’s SAT scores on August 25 in a report entitled “North Carolina 2009 SAT Report.” The SAT is a voluntary college placement test administered by College Board to public and private high school students that plan to attend college. The total possible score for the SAT is 2,400 (800 points each for critical reading, math, and writing).
According to the N.C. DPI report, 5.9 percent fewer public school students took the SAT in 2009 than in the previous year, with the public school participation rate dropping from 48,054 in 2008 to 45,376 in 2009. The mean average score (in critical reading and math) among public school students who took the SAT in North Carolina was 1,003 in 2009, representing no change since 2008. The mean writing score among public school students dropped two points between 2008 and 2009, from 478 to 476.
When the state’s private school students are combined with public school students who took the SAT, the participation rate in North Carolina increased slightly by 1.2 percent in 2009, from 56,442 in 2008 to 57,147 in 2009. Overall, 63 percent of public and private school students in North Carolina took the test in 2009. According to the DPI report, North Carolina’s mean total score (in critical reading plus math) dropped one percentage point in 2009, with public and private school students earning an average score of 1,006. This is comparable to the national average of 1,016, which dropped one point in 2009 as well.
The DPI report notes that North Carolina’s “average yearly gain” on the SAT since 1989 is about three percentage points a year. The mean SAT score for states in the Southeast was 999 in 2009, which means North Carolina “outscored the Southeast by an average of five points,” according to DPI. The report notes that North Carolina is 35th among all states in critical reading scores on the SAT and 31st among the states in math. North Carolina’s grand total score on the SAT (which is critical reading plus math plus writing) was 1486 in 2009, compared to 1501 for the nation.
“The story in North Carolina is about increasing aspirations,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson in a press release. “Over time, more North Carolina students have decided to take the SAT and AP courses. This increase offers proof that that more young people see education as the key to their future success.”
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.