North Carolina's average SAT score was 1,007, up 3 points from a year ago, while the national average remained steady at 1,017. State math scores increased from 509 to 511, while reading scores went from 495 to 496. Nationally, the average math score is 515, and the average reading score is 502.
"We are extremely pleased with today's news," state Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said in a statement. "Students have been working diligently and challenging themselves with higher-level courses. This strategy takes time, but it is effective. In 1998, it seemed we would never reach the national average. Today, that goal is within sight."
The percentage of students taking the SAT in North Carolina was 63 percent in 2008, according to recently revised projections of state participation rates. The number of test takers in the state increased to 56,442, a 2.4 percent increase over 2007.
The SAT is one of the college admissions tests widely accepted and required by colleges and universities and the one most commonly taken in North Carolina. The other test, taken by 14 percent of North Carolina students, is the ACT.
North Carolina students also out performed the nation on the ACT for the first time in at least five years. The state's average composite score increased by 0.3 point from 2007 to 2008 and totaled 21.3 points. The national average composite score decreased by 0.1 point to 21.1 total points.
Wake County's average increased 2 points, to 1,059, while Johnston County's jumped 7 seven points, to 1,019. Orange County's average went up 3 points, to 1,043, and Cumberland County's went up 4 points, to 946. Meanwhile, Durham County's average dropped 16 points, to 967, and Chapel Hill-Carrboro's fell 6 points, to 1,179.