Local News

North Carolina SAT Scores Climb Again; More Students Taking Test

Posted August 31, 2004 3:38 a.m. EDT

— North Carolina students posted the highest SAT score in the state's history, just one year after breaking the 1,000-point mark for the first time.

Average SAT scores climbed another five points this year, providing more evidence of improvement by high school students in the past decade.

Overall, SAT scores in Wake County took a small hit, dropping four points. Even so, Wake ranks fifth in the state with an average score of 1063.

"We're not worried about it. We refer to this as a blip rather than a trend," Wake Superintendent Bill McNeal said.

North Carolina students who took the SAT during the 2003-2004 school year increased their average mathematics score by one point, to 507. The score on the test's verbal portion increased by four points, to 499.

The total score of 1,006 out of a possible 1,600 was up from 1,001 the previous year.

Nationally, the mathematics score fell one point, to 518, and the verbal score increased by one point, to 508, for a total score of 1,026, which was the same total score the previous year.

North Carolina has improved its score each year since 1990, except in 1994 when there was no change. For the state, the test scores have improved by 20 points over five years and 42 points over 10 years.

"In the past five years, we've improved our SAT score by 20 points and that's the second best in the nation. At the same time, we've been improving our scores. We've also been improving our rate of participation and that's encouraging as well," said Mike Ward, on his last day as state school superintendent.

The number of North Carolina students taking the SAT is up as well. Seventy percent of high school students took the SAT compared to 68 percent the year before. The national average is 48 percent.

"Seventy percent taking it in North Carolina means that we have 70 percent of our students thinking about going to college, and that's good," Easley said.

The SAT is one of the major college entrance exams for high school students, and is the entrance exam most often taken in North Carolina.