08/31/04 — SAT scores are up

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SAT scores are up

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 31, 2004 2:00 PM

The latest SAT scores for students in Wayne County public schools are up 20 points, to the highest average scores in the county's history.

School officials say the gap between Wayne County and the state and national averages is at its lowest and that the achievement gap between black and white students is closing.

Locally, students who took the Scholastic Aptitude Test are showing more growth than the state and national average in verbal and math components, according to data received today from the state's Department of Public Instruction.

The growth trend shows the local average is up more than the national and state in 2004 and in the past 14 years. While the national average remained unchanged in 2004, the state's average rose five points as compared with a 20-point increase in Wayne County.

Average verbal scores for the six county high schools were 971 as compared with 951 last year. The state average for 2004 was 1,006 and the national was 1,026.

In math, Wayne County scored 494 as compared with 507 for the state and 518 nationally.

Wayne County's overall score moved the school system above Lenoir and Pender counties. It still trails Cumberland, Sampson, Nash, Greene, Duplin, Edgecombe, Bladen and Jones counties.

Eastern Wayne High School produced the top individual average score for the county of 1,540. The school's math score, 527, was above the national average and 20 points higher than the state average. The verbal score was 496.

Scores for the other high schools in the county were as follows: Charles B. Aycock had 499 in verbal as compared with 488 last year, and 506 in math as compared with 492 last year.

Goldsboro High School's verbal scores rose from 407 to 423 and in math from 399 to 434.

Rosewood's scores went from 466 to 469 in verbal and 468 to 491 in math; Southern Wayne's verbal dropped a point, from 467 to 466, and math went from 461 to 465; and Spring Creek's verbal scores also dropped, from 481 to 468, but math rose from 485 to 491.

The countywide scores reflect a larger number of students taking the test and are the highest in Wayne County to date.

Dr. Craig McFadden, assistant for student accountability and student services, said the gain is significant.

"We want to continue this momentum for the next few years," he said. "The growth is encouraging."

The total math score rose by 15 points, while the total verbal score rose five points, to produce a combined score of 971.

Since 1990, Wayne County scores have risen 91 points. That places it ahead of the nation in growth by 66 points and 33 points ahead of the state.

School officials said a higher number of Wayne County students, 54 percent, are taking the SAT test, which is above the national percentage and may affect the scores.

The scores also point to a closing of the gap between black and white students' achievement levels. In 2004, black students scored 870 in Wayne County as compared with 847 for the state average and 857 at the national level.

The gap between the county, state and national averages is also closing and considered at its lowest point for the national average.

The test, used as a measurement tool in assessing the academic preparation of individual students necessary for college success, uses the scores to rank or judge states, school systems and schools.

Schools Superintendent Steven Taylor said the gains reflect positively on practices used in the classrooms.

"We are certainly pleased with the increase in SAT results for 2004," he said. "We will continue to strive towards further improvement for the future."