On The Move
Performance and Participation on AP Exams Rise; SAT Scores Decline
Sep 24, 2012
COLUMBIA, SC - September 24, 2012 - South Carolina students improved their performance on college level Advance Placement exams and more students than ever before took the college-credit granting exams, but the state’s SAT scores declined according to statistics released by the College Board.
The percentage of public school-only students receiving a score of 3, 4, or 5 increased 12.99 percent during school year 2011-12. The percentage of all-students in South Carolina receiving at least a score of 3 increased by 12.56 percent. Participation rates among public school-only students increased 14.26 percent and among all-students by 13.81 percent. Both participation growth rates doubled the national growth rates, which were 6.40 percent for public school-only students and all-students.
Superintendent of Education Mick Zais said, “While AP scores are not an
accurate indicator of school performance, the success of these
individual students is a noteworthy accomplishment. The students, their
parents, and their teachers deserve all the credit for these gains.”
“These courses offer students college-level rigor without the price tag of college tuition. By taking advantage of the opportunities AP exams present, students can cut future costs associated with continuing their education,” Zais said.
The average SAT composite score for all South Carolina graduating seniors was 1431, down five points. The national average dropped two points to an average score of 1498. In South Carolina, critical reading was 481, math was 488, and writing was 462; compared to the national average for all schools of 496, 514, and 488.
In the public school sector, seniors graduating in South
Carolina scored a composite of 1422, down five points from 2011. The
national average was 1477, down four points from 2011. Critical reading
was 477, math was 487, and writing was 458. The national averages were
491 for critical reading, 506 for math, and 481 for writing.
Zais raised issue with the state’s lagging scores, particularly in critical reading and writing.
the other college admission test ACT, the SAT is not a measure of
school effectiveness. However, within the student population taking the
SAT is another data point confirming a troubling trend: there is a wide
reading gap between South Carolina and the nation.”
the reading gap in elementary school must be our top priority because
reading is fundamental to everything else in a student’s education. If
students cannot read, they will not succeed in school,” said Zais. “To
accomplish this goal, we must transform education from a
one-size-fits-all system to one that delivers a personalized and
customized education to each student.”
Advanced Placement Scores
AP courses – and the accompanying College Board exams that demonstrate mastery of the course material – allow students to earn college credit while still in high school. The exams are graded on a scale of 1-5, with a score of 5 demonstrating the highest level of performance. Since 1984, South Carolina has paid for AP instructional materials, paid students’ test fees, and offered specialized training for teachers. Every student enrolled in an AP course is required to take the test. Students can earn college credit at most institutions of higher education with scores of 3, 4, or 5.
The five most-taken AP exams in 2011-12 were United States History, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Calculus AB, and Human Geography.
All South Carolina colleges and universities accept either SAT or ACT scores for admission. The five South Carolina universities receiving the most scores from all South Carolina SAT test-takers were the University of South Carolina (Columbia), Clemson, College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina, and Winthrop. Eighty-nine percent of the state’s SAT participants said they hope to earn a two-year degree or higher in their postsecondary career. Their most popular fields for majors are Health Professions, Business, Engineering, Visual and Performing Arts, and Education.