Local News

N.C. SAT Score Now Above Southeast Average

Posted August 27, 2002 11:28 a.m. EDT

— North Carolina's average total SAT score moved up six points in 2001-02, moving the state above the Southeast average for the first time.

The mathematics score increased by six points, to 505, while the verbal score stayed the same at 493, for a total score of 998.

The national mathematics score rose two points to 516 and the verbal score fell two points to 504 for a total of 1020.

North Carolina's verbal score is now 11 points away from the nation's verbal score and 11 points away from the nation's math score. In 1991, North Carolina's math score was 26 points and verbal score was 21 points away from the national averages.

North Carolina's SAT score of 998 exceeded the Southeast average of 995 for the first time. The Southeast score includes scores from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

North Carolina's score went up even as the participation rate of students increased. At 67 percent, North Carolina has the 13th largest (tied with Maryland) SAT participation rate in the nation, which is 46 percent.

In 2001-02, about 46,180 students in North Carolina took the SAT, up nearly 5 percent from the previous year. Generally, among states, the higher the percentage of students taking the SAT, the lower the score.

North Carolina has improved its score each year since 1990, except in 1994 when there was no change.

"These scores show that the focus in our state is paying off in better performance," said State Board of Education Chairman Phil Kirk. "We need to convince more students that they need to take tougher courses if they are considering going to college and we'll see even better results."

State Superintendent Mike Ward said that he was pleased to see North Carolina's SAT results move above the Southeast average. "Universities tell us that the students we're sending to them are better prepared for college-level work. That's backed up by these results," Ward said.

The average score of North Carolina's black students increased four points to 839, which is 207 points lower than the score of white students in this state, which was 1046.

North Carolina's Hispanic students scored 961 in 2002, a 14-point decrease over the previous year. American Indian students in North Carolina improved their score by 23 points to 914.