09/04/04 — SAT results show remarkable increase

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SAT results show remarkable increase

There is little enough reward for the people who run Wayne County’s schools, but they got a nice reward last week. It was the compilation of the scores that Wayne’s high school juniors earned on the Scholastic Aptitude Test this year.

The average score was up 20 points to 971.

That is a significant increase, and it should be pleasing to all in Wayne County, not just the school teachers and administrators.

It is even more remarkable because the percentage of students taking the test was up. Educators have learned that the more people taking the SAT, as a rule, the lower the average score. Usually, when fewer students take it, they are the top students.

That is one reason that North Carolina’s average score, 1,006, is lower than the national average, 1,026.

In some states, most college-bound students take tests other than the SAT, because the colleges in those states require the other tests instead. There, only the students who plan to go to distant colleges, usually high-raking schools, take the SAT, and these few students are usually among the best in the state.

Such a state’s average is naturally higher than that of a state like North Carolina, where every college-bound student takes the test.

Therefore, a comparison of SAT scores from state to state is not necessarily an accurate comparison of the states’ high schools.

From county to county within North Carolina, however, it is a valid comparison. Bordering Wilson County’s average was 984, slightly better than Wayne’s. But Wayne County’s scores this year exceeded other bordering counties: Lenoir, Sampson and Duplin. That, too, makes a positive statement about Wayne’s schools.

Published in Editorials on September 4, 2004 10:40 PM