South Carolina’s most recent high school graduates scored 15 points higher on their SAT exams than the national average this year, according to new data released Thursday.
The College Board released national results for its SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) assessments. South Carolina students scored also exceeded the national score on eight out of the top ten tested subjects of Advanced Placement exams.
“These results illustrate the importance of an education system that is based off multiple measures.” State Education Superintendent Molly Spearman said in a release. “While there is still work to be done in other areas, the data from these two rigorous national assessments prove that South Carolina students can surpass their peers nationally and that our schools are moving in the right direction.”
More than 22,100 South Carolina students — roughly half of the 2018 graduating class — took the SAT, which was an increase from last year.
While South Carolina has exceeded the national mean for the past few years, it lags in the similar ACT test. The same graduating class finished 50th out of all states and the District of Columbia, according to data released last week. Education Department spokesman Ryan Brown said that was likely due to more students taking ACT, including many not planning on college.
The SAT relies on two main components, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) and Math. The Essay section is optional. Scores range from 400-1600 overall.
South Carolina’s overall mean score was 1064, 15 points above the national mean. SC’s mean ERW score was 543, 14 points above the national mean, while it met the national average for its math score at 520. 44 percent of SC test takers met both ERW and Math College and Career Ready Benchmarks.
African-American student participation accounted for 26 percent of all test takers, more than double the national participation rate of 13 percent.
South Carolina also saw five percent growth in the number of students taking the exam and a ten percent increase in those who earned a passing grade of 3 or higher.
AP exam scores of three indicate a candidate who is qualified to take college-level courses. Scores of four indicate someone who is well-qualified and a five indicates someone who is extremely well-qualified. Colleges and universities often grant class credit and use AP scores of three or more to place students in higher course levels.
South Carolina students outperformed the national average in percentage of exams with scores of three or more on eight of the top ten most popular Advanced Placement tested subjects.
State, School District, and School Level Data for the SAT and AP assessments can be accessed by visiting this link.