Local, state SAT scores rising

SALISBURY — Average SAT scores are getting higher in Rowan County and North Carolina, but fewer students are actually taking the test.

SAT Scores 2012-13

SAT Scores 2012-13

2013 (This year) Number tested Percent tested Math Critical Reading Writing M + CR M + CR + W

North Carolina 58,100 62 506 495 478 1001 1479

Rowan-Salisbury Schools 640 50.4 484 469 452 953 1405

East Rowan High 92 45.5 502 471 459 973 1432

Jesse C. Carson High 108 43 483 458 448 941 1389

North Rowan High 55 38.7 434 433 401 867 1268

Rowan County Early College 57 93.4 516 501 481 1017 1498

Salisbury High 107 61.5 482 475 454 957 1411

South Rowan High 95 43.4 486 465 458 951 1409

West Rowan High 126 60.3 481 474 453 955 1408

2012 Number tested Percent tested Math Critical Reading Writing M + CR M + CR + W

North Carolina 63,271 68 506 491 472 997 1469

Rowan-Salisbury Schools 702 53.8 483 466 446 949 1395

East Rowan High 135 54.2 503 481 456 984 1440

Jesse C. Carson High 138 47.4 487 472 447 959 1406

North Rowan High 48 42.9 445 418 412 863 1275

Rowan County Early College 45 100 487 472 473 959 1432

Salisbury High 124 65.6 482 458 453 940 1393

South Rowan High 85 44.7 488 470 453 958 1411

West Rowan High 127 55.5 468 464 426 932 1358

M + CR = Math and critical reading

M + CR + W = Math, critical reading and writing

Source: N.C. Department of Public Instruction. North Carolina totals include all schools (public and non-public). Percent tested is the number of students taking the SAT divided by the 8th month 12th grade membership. All scores in this table have been adjusted and reflect senior test-takers who took the SAT at any point during a given year through June.

The average combined math, critical reading and writing score in the Rowan-Salisbury School System went up by 10 points to 1,405.

“Although SAT scores fluctuate from year to year largely based on the student population taking the tests, I am always pleased to see an increase in our overall student performance,” said outgoing Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom, who retires at the end of this month. “This indicates that we are moving in the right direction in preparing our students to be competitive and prepared for college.”

The local numbers mirror a 10-point growth in the state’s average combined score of 1,479. The national average of 1,498 stayed level this year.

At the same time, student participation fell both in North Carolina and Rowan-Salisbury. In 2013, 640 students (50.4 percent of seniors) took the test, compared to 702 (53.8 percent) in 2012.

Kannapolis City Schools saw similar trends in 2013. The average score at A.L. Brown High School rose by 17 points to 1367. Meanwhile, A.L. Brown’s participation in the test dropped dramatically - from 141 students (53.2 percent of seniors) to 114 (37.4 percent).

The SAT was once the most widely used college admissions exam in the state, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. But it is not required, and it carries a fee for most students who take it.

Since 2012, every high school junior in North Carolina now takes the ACT free of charge. That means SAT participation is likely to keep going down, according to a Rowan-Salisbury School System press release.

The school system’s assessment and accountability director, Colby Cochran, presented SAT results to high school principals during a scheduled meeting Wednesday morning. On Thursday morning, the scores were released to the public.

The Rowan County Early College reported the highest scores in the Rowan-Salisbury School System. The students’ average score was 1498, which is an increase of 66 points from last year.

East Rowan scored the highest of the traditional high schools, with an average of 1432. North Rowan had the lowest average score — 1268 — in the school system.

The largest increase took place at West Rowan High School, which had a 50-point jump over its 2012 results. The average score there was 1408.

Jamie Durant, principal of West Rowan, said he thinks that’s great news. Scores went up on all three parts of the test - math, critical reading and especially writing.

“I attribute it to the hard work and efforts of our teachers and students,” Durant said. “There was a emphasis and an effort to increase vocabulary in the classroom, and that led directly to an increase in scores.”

West Rowan also was the only school in the system to have a higher proportion of its students taking the test this year. Participation dropped by one student to 126, but 60.3 percent of seniors were tested, compared to 55.5 percent last year.

“We offered some SAT review and SAT prep opportunities for students to take advantage of that,” Durant said. “We’re encouraging them not at the last minute to take it, but to take it and see what it’s asking them ahead of time so they can prepare.”

Jesse C. Carson High School experienced the biggest decrease in scores. Its average of 1389 is 17 points lower than last year. Carson’s scores stayed about the same in math, decreased slightly in writing and fell the most in critical reading.

South Rowan High School had an average score of 1409, which stayed roughly the same as last year.

The average at Salisbury High School was 1411, which is an increase of 18 points over the 2011 score. Critical reading gained the most points.

“There is an emphasis on the reading-writing connection with the Common Core and Essential Standards implemented last year,” said Salisbury Principal Avis Williams. “Across the board, students are receiving an emphasis on literacy, even in math classes.”

For more information and to view the N.C. Department of Public Instruction press release, go to www.ncpublicschools.org.

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