County SAT score take a dip

Kelly Mayo Staff writer

September 26, 2013

RALEIGH — Robeson County’s average SAT scores slid this year despite big gains at two schools.

The county’s seven high schools had an average composite score of 1,233 for 2013, a decline of 14 points from last year’s average score of 1,247, according to the state Department of Public Instruction, which released the information on Thursday.

The average composite score is calculated by combining each school’s average score in the math, critical reading and writing sections of the SAT. The county average is 236 points below the state average, which rose slightly.

Four of the seven county high schools showed improvements, but two were slight.

The Early College High School had the highest average score and the largest improvement from last year in Robeson County. Its average SAT score was 1,441, a 42-point increase over last year. Lumberton Senior High had the county’s second-highest average score at 1,290, a 30-point improvement over 2012.

Two schools saw their average scores plunge this year. Purnell Swett High’s score was 1,182, a 57-point drop from its 2012 score, which is the largest decline in the county. St. Pauls High’s score fell 29 points to 1,246.

It was the second straight year of decline in SAT scores for Robeson County. The 2012 average score fell 27 points from the 2011 average of 1,274.

Tasha Oxendine, a Public Relations spokesperson for the system, issued the following statement: “The recent test score information looks at the number of test takers out of all the seniors. Participation is down in students taking the SAT. All students do not take the SAT. The largest decline in the PSRC district is in math.

“Our high schools are working to increase test scores through various approaches on each campus. Lumberton High School traditionally has the highest scores. Principal Larry Obeda at LSH says his educators are offering tutorial and SAT Academy to improve SAT scores. There are too many variables to pinpoint why scores are dropping. A key factor to remember in the test results is if a student takes the SAT two times, these results will not show the highest score, but will report the most recent. Across the district educators, administrators and guidance counselors are working with students to offer additional programs to increase SAT scores.”

In 2012, all high school juniors took the ACT for the first time as part of a new state program. As a result, many students can use their ACT results for college admission and not have to pay fees to take the SAT.

The average scores of all seven Robeson County high schools are as follows:

— Robeson County Early College High School: 1,441, up 42 points over 2012; 36.1 percent of students tested.

— Lumberton Senior High School: 1,290, up 30 points over 2012; 43 percent of students tested.

— Fairmont High School: 1,250, down 6 points from 2012; 27 percent of students tested.

— St. Pauls High School: 1,246, down 29 points from 2012; 16.2 percent of students tested.

— Red Springs High School: 1,185, up 3 points over 2012; 38.2 percent of students tested.

— Purnell Swett High School: 1,182, down 57 points from 2012; 37.3 percent of students tested.

— South Robeson High School: 1,149, up 1 point over 2012; 45.3 percent of students tested.

The average SAT score for North Carolina’s high school seniors saw gains for the 2012-13 school year, even as the average score nationally stayed the same.

The Department of Public Instruction said Thursday that the more than 58,000 North Carolina students who took the key test for college admissions had an average combined score of 1,479, a 10-point increase from the prior year.

Despite the improvement, North Carolina still lags behind the national average score of 1,498, which remained unchanged from last year.

State Superintendent June Atkinson said she was pleased by the progress, especially an uptick in the scores on the reading portion of the test.

“I fully expect to see our seniors’ scores continue to improve as students benefit from the Common Core State Standards,” said Atkinson, a Democrat, referring to a nationwide academic initiative opposed by some conservatives.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.