Fifty-six percent of district seniors took the SAT compared to 57 percent of seniors statewide.

BCSD students' SAT performance improves
Posted on 09/24/2019
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

AP participation, scores show improvement;
SAT decrease mirrors state, national scores

BEAUFORT – Beaufort County School District students’ performance on college Advanced Placement exams improved significantly last year even as student participation in the more rigorous courses increased.  District high school seniors’ average scores on SAT college entrance exams decreased along with scores statewide and nationwide.

The College Board reported today that 58 percent of Beaufort County School District AP exams had scores of 3 or better on the tests’ five-point scale, qualifying those students for college credit.  That was a significant improvement over 53 percent last year and 50 percent five years ago.

“It’s very encouraging to see not only a big increase in the numbers of AP exams, but improved performance as well,” said Superintendent Frank Rodriguez.  “These are students who have accepted the challenge of more rigorous coursework and have been successful.  Our AP teachers also deserve a lot of credit.”

The College Board also reported today that district high school seniors in the Class of 2019 saw their average SAT score decrease by 13 points over 2018, although their average was higher than the state and national averages for public school seniors.  State and national average SAT scores also decreased. 

Rodriguez said taking more academically challenging courses is critical to preparing for SAT or ACT college entrance exams.

Advanced Placement exams

Advanced Placement – and the accompanying College Board exams that demonstrate mastery of the course material – let students earn free college course credits while still in high school.  For 2018-19, the College Board reported that 58 percent of Beaufort County School District AP exams had scores of 3 or better on the tests’ five-point scale, qualifying them for college credit.  That was compared to 53 percent last year and 50 percent five years ago.

Across the district, 630 individual students scored high enough to earn college credits compared to 586 last year and 530 five years ago.  The total number of exams taken was 1,732, up from 1,570 last year and 1,584 five years ago.

Beaufort County’s 58 percent average for students scoring high enough for college credit was identical to 2019 statewide and national averages.

SAT college entrance exams

Beaufort County high school seniors’ average SAT score of 1048 was higher than South Carolina’s average, which dropped 43 points to 1021, and also the nation’s, which dropped 10 points to 1039.  Fifty-six percent of district seniors took the SAT compared to 57 percent of seniors statewide.

The number of district high school senior test-takers increased from 2018 to 2019, going from 665 to 741.  District officials said an increase in test-takers often results in lower average scores.

The SAT relies on two main components: Evidence Based Reading and Writing (ERW) and Math. An Essay section is optional. Scores range from 400 to 1600 overall (800 maximum on both sections).

Beaufort County School District seniors’ average ERW score was 533, higher than the state (521) and national (524) public school scores.  The district’s average math score was 515, equal to the national average but higher than the state average of 500.

Five-year SAT trend data were not available because the SAT was redesigned three years ago.