NC SAT Scores Decrease
Special Report - September 27, 2012
More North Carolina high school seniors took the SAT in 2012 than in the state’s history, but students scored lower in critical reading and math than in over a decade, according to the latest national SAT report from The College Board. The State Department of Public Instruction (DPI) released “The North Carolina 2012 SAT Report,” its analysis of the report, on September 24. The SAT is a voluntary college placement test administered by The College Board to public and private high school students who 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 DPI, 68 percent of North Carolina high school seniors took the SAT in 2012 (for a total of 63,271 students), and earned a combined average score of 997 in critical reading and math. This was down from a combined average score of 1,001 in 2011. Among high school seniors who took the SAT in 2012, the average math score was 506, the average critical reading score was 491, and the average writing score was 472. DPI notes that this is two points lower than the average score in each category in 2011. According to the DPI report, “North Carolina has led the Southeast each year [since 2001], scoring six points higher in 2012” than other Southeastern states (specifically South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Virginia).
This was the first year the SAT set a national benchmark for states of 1550 in critical reading, mathematics and writing. According to DPI, the benchmark indicates “a 65 percent likelihood that students will achieve a B grade point average or higher during their first year of college.” Only 38 percent of North Carolina’s class of 2012 met the benchmark. North Carolina’s “grand total score” on the SAT (i.e., the combined score in critical reading, math and writing) was 1,469 in 2012, which is 29 points lower than the nation’s grand total score of 1498.
The DPI report notes that North Carolina’s 2012 total SAT score (the combined score for math and critical reading only) “was the lowest since 2001, when the total score was 993.” Between 2002 and 2005, “North Carolina’s scores increased gradually each year. In 2006, after the SAT was revised with the revamping of the Critical Reading and Mathematics sections and the addition of the mandatory Writing portion, the state’s scores declined two points; and four points in 2007. In 2008 and 2009, NC’s score increased three points and two points, respectively. Since 2009, the state’s scores have declined each year: by two points in 2010, three points in 2011, and four points in 2012,” according to DPI.
The report suggests that the “fluctuations” in North Carolina’s SAT scores might be associated with changes in testing patterns due to the introduction of the writing section, as well as increased testing time. The report also notes that “nearly 50 percent of all schools in the nation with 50 or more students” saw declines of 10 points or more in 2012 in critical reading, writing and math.
NC SAT Scores Slightly Below Average - August 27, 2009
SAT Scores Decline In NC and Nation - August 30, 2007
Copyright © 2012. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.