08/26/09 — SAT scores drop a bit for county students

View Archive

SAT scores drop a bit for county students

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 26, 2009 1:46 PM

Wayne County Public Schools' Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT, scores dropped slightly for 2008-09, according to results released Tuesday by the College Board.

The county compared favorably with districts across the state. Decreases were primarily in the area of critical reading and writing, while math scores went up two points from the previous year, officials said.

Broken down by school, two of the seven high schools' SAT scores went up, four went down and one remained the same.

Eastern Wayne High School stayed steady with a total composite score of 1494.

Scores at Goldsboro and Rosewood high schools rose by 25 -- GHS had a score of 1252 for 2009, compared to 1227 the previous year, while Rosewood's scores were at 1484 compared to 1459 in 2008.

The largest margin was at the county's newest high school, Wayne Early/Middle College, which went from 1689 to 1555. There were also a smaller number of students taking the test, however, officials pointed out.

Charles B. Aycock's average total was 1468 in 2009, compared with 1498 the year before. At Spring Creek High, the latest score was 1433, 1466 in 2008; and Southern Wayne's composite average was 1350 and 1388 in 2008.

The SAT measures the preparedness of students for college. Not all students take the test, however, and scores are only reflective of the college-bound seniors taking the test as part of admission requirements.

At the same time, officials said, students can take the test more than once. The most recent score is used in the College Board report. Data compiled represented 12th grade students who took the SAT test any time during their high schools year through March 2009.

Wayne County's average SAT score in critical reading was 475, compared with the state's average of 495; in math it was 497, compared to 511 across the state; and in writing, it was 454 locally, 480 in North Carolina. SAT totals were 1427, while the state average was 1486.

According to the report, averages in all three subject sections dropped three points statewide and 12 points districtwide. In recent years, the state average has remained steady while in Wayne County, total scores dropped from 1438 in 2008 but are up from 2007, when the total was at 1415.

Such shifts are common, said Dr. Craig McFadden, assistant superintendent for accountability and student services.

"Although there has been a drop in overall scores from last year, it is not unusual to see fluctuations in SAT scores from year to year," he said. "It is important to look at the scores over time to determine if the school district is improving."

The SAT writing section was introduced in 2005, so comparisons are limited to the past four years in that area, McFadden said. Data for the critical reading and math sections, however, date back to 1990 and more accurately reflect the district's efforts to close the gap and keep pace with national and state counterparts.

Over the past 19 years, the district's SAT scores have increased 92 points in the areas of critical reading and math -- from 880 in 1990 to 972 in 2009. The state has shown a 58-point gain for the same time period, from 948 to 1006, while national scores have gone up 15 points, from 1001 to 1016.

Administrators said the local increase is representative of the efforts made by teachers and support staff to prepare students for the test.

"Our schools are dedicated to improving student achievement and to helping more studens be successful," Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor said. "As our schools continue to build upon curriculum programs, and implement new programs that enhance student learning, it is our hope that our students not only close the gap with the state and national SAT averages but eventually surpass them."