UNION — SAT scores declined and the percentage of students passing the Advanced Placement exams in Union County fell by half in 2012.
Cindy Langley, director of secondary education for the Union County School District, announced Monday that the College Board had reported a decrease of five points in the average SAT composite score for Union County High School seniors in the Class of 2012 compared to that of the Class of 2011.
While the percentage of UCHS students taking the SAT increased from 49 percent to 57 percent, the average composite score decreased from 1338 to 1332. Reading scores decreased from 446 to 442 and math scores from 469 to 464. Writing scores, however, increased from 422 to 426.
The average composite score for students in the top 20 percent of the UCHS Class of 2012 was 1517, almost 200 points higher than that of the total class. The critical reading average for this group was 505. The average in math 522 and 490 in writing.
Langley said the decline in the SAT scores in 2012 follows a dramatic improvement in 2011.
“Last year our SAT scores jumped 52 points from the previous year, which was phenomenal,” Langley said. “While we always want our test scores to improve, the drop this year is well within the ten-point change in scores that occurs nationally in more than half of all high schools from year to year. We want to celebrate the 20point increase in our math scores from 2010 to 2012 as well as the 14-point increase in our writing scores and the 12-point increase in our reading scores over that same period.”
The average composite score on the SAT for South Carolina public school seniors on critical reading, math, and writing was 1422 down five points from 2011 while the national average for public schools dropped four points to 1477. Statewide critical reading for students attending public schools was 477, 487 in math and 458 in writing compared to national averages for students attending public schools of 491, 505, and 481, respectively.
When all scores are included – public, private and home-schooled students – South Carolina’s average composite score declined five points to 1431 compared to a two point national decline to 1498.
Langley said that 43 UCHS students above the national average of 496 in reading, 42 scored above the national average of 514 in math, and 36 scored above the national average of 488 in writing. She said 42 students met or exceeded the national average of 1498.
Langley said the College Board also reported that 24 percent of the students at UCHS who took Advanced Placement exams in 2012 scored high enough to earn college credit compared to 51 percent in 2011.
The number of students at Union County High School taking Advanced Placement exams rose significantly from 37 to 61 with the number of exams taken increasing from 41 to 80. Students took exams in Biology, Calculus AB, Chemistry, English Literature and Composition, and Studio Art: Drawing. To earn college credit on Advanced Placement exams, a student must score a three or higher on a five-point scale.
“We were pleased to have more students taking AP courses this year, but we were disappointed with passing rate,” Langley said. “AP teachers will continue working with honors teachers in the feeder programs to identify instructional gaps in order to increase student performance on the AP exams. We know that students who take rigorous AP courses and honors courses in high school are well prepared for college freshman courses.”
For more information about standardized test scores and preparation for college entrance exams, parents should contact the guidance department at Union County High School.