SAT Scores Increase Few Points
Moore County's average SAT score edged up slightly this year.
The average score for Moore County high school students on the math and critical reading section was 1,045, a six-point increase over 2008, according to data released by the state Department of Public Instruction this week.
When the writing portion is included, the combined score is 1,532, up four points from last year.
About 368 students, or 53.4 percent, took the college entrance exam. The scores reported are based on the most recent SAT taken.
When the test is broken down by subject, Moore County students averaged 539 on math, 506 on critical reading and 487 on writing. Most colleges and universities focus on the math and critical reading portions of the test.
Superintendent Susan Purser said Wednesday that she was encouraged by the results.
"What [the results] say back to me is that our students that are pursuing formal university-level education after they graduate from high school," she said, "are doing quite well, and they will have the opportunity to pursue their endeavors. It is an indicator of the academic preparation that our high schools provide.
"It is a strong indicator of the academic health of our high schools. It is suggesting that our students are applying to colleges and universities across the country and they are competitive."
Purser said she agreed with the philosophy of the College Board -- the organization that administers the SAT -- that the results should not be used to rank states, school systems or individual schools. Rather, she saud, they should serve as a measure that high schools are moving in the right direction.
Purser says she feels that Moore County's schools are doing that, and, in turn, are providing a wealth of opportunities for graduates and institutions both in and out of state.
Union Pines made the biggest gains of the three county high schools. Its math-critical reading score jumped 26 points, from 1,013 last year to 1,039 this year. When writing is factored in, the average score increased from 1,490 to 1,523.
Pinecrest, the county's largest high school, saw a two-point improvement in the math-critical reading combination, from 1,062 in 2008 to 1,064 this year. It jumped from 1,560 to 1,564 when writing is included.
But North Moore experienced a decrease, going from 1008 last year to 992 this year. When writing is added, the combined score dropped from 1,490 to 1,438.
Moore County's results are ahead of both the state and national averages. North Carolina's average score is 1,006 -- 495 in critical reading and 511 in mathematics. The national average score is 1,016 -- 501 in critical reading and 515 in mathematics.
Moore County's participation rate was lower than the state's average of 63 percent, but higher than the national average of 46 percent. Purser said the state's high participation rate likely correlates with the state's strong university system.
Purser said in a recent survey of graduating seniors pursuing formal education after high school -- whether at a four-year college or university, a community college, a technical or vocational school or through the military -- 40 percent of the respondents indicated they would attend Sandhills Community College, which doesn't require the SAT for admission.
Students can also transfer from SCC to a four-year institution without SAT scores. Those facts alone negate the need for many students to pay the $45 fee to take the test, which explains why Moore County's participation rate is lower than the rest of the state.
"That's the value of a very strong program in the community," Purser said. "It's a win-win for everyone concerned."
The SAT is a requirement for admission at most four-year colleges and universities, though questions about whether or not the test is an accurate indicator of college success have been raised in recent years. A growing number of liberal arts colleges and universities have dropped the SAT requirement. In 2008, Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem became the first top 30 national university to drop the SAT.
While Purser believes that the SAT could become obsolete at some point, she encourages students to take the test because it can connect students to colleges and universities they've never heard of, and it can provide scholarship opportunities.
"It does open additional doors," she said.
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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