Moore’s Scores On SATs Slide
Moore County saw an overall drop in its SAT scores this year, but more students are taking the test in preparation for college.
According to preliminary scores released by the College Board Wednesday, 468 (58.4 percent) of 801 local high school seniors took the test, up from last year’s number of 404.
On the test’s critical reading and math portions, the county averaged a score of 1,025, which is 23 points lower than last year’s average of 1,048. Despite the drop, the county’s overall scores in reading and math are still higher than the national average, 1,011, and the state average, 1,001.
Moore County students averaged a score of 504 in critical reading, which was roughly 2.2 percent higher than the state’s average, 493. The national reading score was 497. Last year, Moore County students averaged a score of 518 in critical reading.
In math, students averaged a score of 521, which was roughly 2.5 percent higher than the state average of 508. The national average was 514.
The county’s average score in math last year was 530.
On the test’s writing portion, Moore County scored 481, down 13 points from last year’s 494. The state average was 474, and the national average was 489.
Though it saw a 15-point drop in its average score for reading and math, Pinecrest High School had an average score of 1,048 with 296 of 434 seniors taking the test. North Moore High School had 58 students out of 117 take the test and score an average combined score of 945, dropping 40 points from last year. One hundred-sixteen students out of 250 took the test at Union Pines High School, averaging 1,007 — a 29-point drop from last year.
Superintendent Susan Purser said she is happy to see the school system maintaining scores above the state and national average as more students in the county take the SAT.
But she emphasizes that the SAT and other standardized tests do not provide a complete assessment of a student’s preparation for life after high school.
“We have a success rate on the tests that is higher than both the state and national average,” she said. “But it’s got to be put in the total context. We must ask ourselves, ‘Are we preparing students for their next step?’ I think we’re doing a good job with that.”
Purser said the increased numbers could possibly indicate that more students are pursuing a four-year degree, but she added that because Sandhills Community College is a strong, local resource for higher education, many students choose not to take the SAT as they continue their education there.
North Carolina’s community college system does not require an SAT score for admission.
Purser added that because of the cost of taking the test, some students forgo taking it if they know they want to pursue an alternative to a four-year degree after high school.
“Why pay to take the test if you don’t need it?” she said.
The county and state’s slight drop in scores over the last two years is part of a larger national trend, which the College Board attributes to the fact that a wider range of students are taking the test nationally.
North Carolina’s graduating seniors represented the largest group in state history to take the test, with a 67 percent participation rate, up 4.4 percentage points from last year.
Nationally, almost 1.65 million students in the class of 2011 took the SAT last year. Of that number, the College Board saw the most diverse population of test takers.
Among those taking the SAT, 44 percent were minority students, 36 percent were first-generation college- goers, and 27 percent do not speak English exclusively.
In addition to more students taking the test, results were affected by the fact that the College Board also changed its policy for reporting scores in 2011. Previously, the College Board has only reported scores taken through March, though the test is administered to students through June. This year, scores for seniors taking the test through June were also recorded in the results.
The SAT is a collegiate aptitude test that is often a strong indicator of how many students are college-bound, though it is not the only deciding factor. Some states rely more heavily on other standardized tests, like the ACT.
High school students are not required to take the SAT, and most students have to pay to take it.
View the scores here.
Contact Hannah Sharpe by email at hannah@thepilot. com.
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