South Carolina’s high school seniors saw their SAT scores drop in the 2011-12 school year for the fourth year in a row.
Graduating seniors averaged a cumulative score of 1431 out of a possible 2100 this past school year, down from 1436 the year before. That trend mirrored a downward trend nationwide, although South Carolina’s 5-point decline was also larger than the 2-point national average.
The College Board, which administers the test, released the data Monday. State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais said he did not see the SAT as a measure of school effectiveness, but said the latest numbers confirm a “troubling trend” at South Carolina schools, especially in students’ reading proficiency.
“This a trend that’s been ongoing,” Zais, who took office in 2011, said Monday, “Until we afford parents options, until we get poor kids out of persistently failing schools, and until educators are held accountable for their success or failure for what students learn and fail to lear, we’re not going to make progress.”
However, there was some good news in the number of students taking college placement tests. The number of students scoring a passing grade of at least 3 on at least one Advanced Placement (AP) test increased by more than 1,400 statewide. That’s a 12.5 percent increase over the 2011 tests.
The number of students taking the AP, which allows a high school student to test out of some college courses, also increased by double digits this past year to 23,540 statewide. Since many of those students took more than one test, the overall number of passing scores was nearly 22,000.
Zais said the growth in students taking the AP test was well above schools’ population growth.”I think our students are coming to realize how important AP is if you are on a four-year or two-year college track,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. He also credited South Carolina’s AP teachers.
Overall, 52 percent of “actively enrolled seniors” took the SAT this past school year, South Carolina’s Department of Education reported. Lexington-Richland School District 5 had the highest participation rate at 83 percent, while Clarendon School District 2 had the lowest at only 5 percent participation.