Local News

North Carolina Improves In SAT Scores, Still Has Room For Improvement

Posted August 28, 2001 5:07 a.m. EDT

— Students in North Carolina increased their verbal score by one point and posted the highest math scores on their SATs in 30 years. However, the gap between minority students' scores and those of their white peers remains both here and nationwide. But one county is chipping away at that gap.

In English II honors classes at North Johnston High School, students already have the SATs on their minds. Each week, they are tested on words that will help them on the verbal portion of the SATs.

"Learning some of these words is really cool, since we have been able to use them since we have learned them," says student Sara Mays.

However, the absence of minority students in rigorous courses is one part of the achievement gap problem that exists in the state and nationally.

"I think that is definitely cause for concern, especially when we have seen indicators on other fronts that those gaps are starting to close," says Mike Ward, Superintendent for North Carolina Schools.

Both Johnston County and state school officials believe the ABCs accountability program is having a positive effect overall.

North Carolina's students posted a four-point overall gain with a combined score of 992 on the math and verbal tests. The national average rose one point, to 1020, since last year.

For the last several years, North Carolina has ranked 48th. This year, the state is tied with Texas at 47th.