While Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) results continue to slide in North Carolina — down six points from last year — students in the Sampson County Schools system continue to show improvement.
According to results released from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Sampson County Schools scored a combined 1,360 for the combined reading, math and writing components, up 12 points from last year’s score of 1,348 and up four points from 2010’s combined score of 1,356.
In the combined critical reading and math score, Sampson County Schools scored an average of 926, up from 2011’s score of 918.
Sampson County Schools tested 183 students, 58 less than 2011.
“The (SAT) scores go up and down each year,” explained Sampson County Schools superintendent Dr. Ethan Lenker. “It is really a tough test to gauge because we really don’t get a lot of feedback from it.”
However, Lenker said he was pleased to see the increase in the growth the system has had on the SATs over the past two years.
“When we look at it, our goal here is to continually improve, which is what we are doing,” he said. “We have implemented strategies that include getting more students involved with math, and at the middle school level we have put in place strategies to expose the students to more vocabulary words … It is about getting more kids involved with these courses at a younger age.”
In Clinton City Schools, the system’s average score for the combined reading, math and writing component fell to 1,344, down from last year’s 1,396. In the combined critical reading and math score, Clinton High students scored 922, down from 2011’s score of 944.
Clinton High School tested two more students in 2012 (88) than the 86 who tested in 2011.
“It is a snapshot of a performance target,” noted Clinton City Schools superintendent Stuart Blount. “We had a higher percentage of students take the test this year and we did have a slight drop in our numbers. What we are going to do is take these numbers, apply it to our other data and continue to work to improve.”
Blount said going down 52 points on the test from last year is not the best scenario for the system, but there is a silver lining — Clinton City Schools remains above the state average, which was 997 this year, a four-point drop from the average score in 2011.
“No,we are not where we would like to be, but we are above the state average,” he said. “We will have to continue to analyze this data and look at where we need to work, not just at the high school level, but our system-wide performance and have conversations to develop strategies to get the numbers up. We will also have to look at the SAT Prep Course itself and come up with ways to make it work better for the students.”
In neighboring Duplin County Schools, the average score for the combined reading, math and writing component fell to 1,325, down from 2011’s score of 1,344. Johnston County Schools average fell to 1,490 in the combined reading, math and writing component, from 1,479 in 2011.Including the writing portion of the test, the combined score for North Carolina students this year was 1,469, down six points from 1,475 last year. Nationally, the scores declined two points to 1,498 for the combined reading, math and writing components.
For years, the SAT tests has been the standard used by admissions offices at the state’s colleges and universities, but with the implementation of the American College Test (ACT) to all juniors this year, school systems will now have a way to measure their student’s strengths and weaknesses.
“North Carolina began administering the ACT college admissions test to all juniors this year,” Lenker explained. “That test gives us feedback in all areas and we can monitor the needs of our students, it will not just be numbers. We will have that feedback to look at and study so that it can help us out down the road.”
The ACT will be used to judge student progress, college readiness and school performance in North Carolina from now on. However, many students will also take the SAT, which has long been the standard used by admissions offices at the state’s colleges and universities.
“What was taught in the N.C. Standard Course of Study was not necessarily as what was on the SAT test,” Lenker said. “So going to Common Core will help balance that out, I hope. The assumption being that less kids will be taking the SATs.”
Either way, both Lenker and Blount will be working to maintain solid test scores.
“We want to continue to look at what can help us get better,” Blount said.
“We look at all the trend data and we have been doing good to keep improving,” Lenker added, “that remains our goal — continually improve.”
According to DPI, 65 percent of public high school students, or 55,720, took the SAT, the highest participation rate in North Carolina history, state officials said.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.