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Forty-three percent of students who graduated high school in 2012 were prepared for college.
According to the College Board, the company that administers the SAT, a recent study found 43 percent of those who took the SAT graduated from high school “with the level of academic preparedness associated with a likelihood of college success.”
SAT scores for those same graduating seniors were down across North Carolina and across the country in 2012.
According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 68 percent of North Carolina high school seniors—or 63,271 students—participated in the SAT college admissions exam. Those students received an average combined score in critical reading and math of 997—down from the 2011 average combined score of 1,001.
The national average also dipped slightly from 1,011 in 2011 to 1,010 in 2012.
“This report should serve as a call to action to expand access to rigor for more students. Our nation’s future depends on the strength of our education system. When less than half of kids who want to go to college are prepared to do so, that system is failing. We must make education a national priority and deliver rigor to more students,” College Board President Gaston Caperton said.
Brunswick County Schools spokeswoman Jessica Swencki said 27 more students took the SAT in 2012 than the previous year in Brunswick County.
“The SAT is widely accepted as a tool to assess academic readiness for college and is voluntarily taken by students seeking admission to post-secondary institutions. No longer voluntary in North Carolina is the ACT, also an academic readiness assessment, which was administered at no charge to all juniors for the first time during the 2011-12 school year. Annual administration and results of the ACT are part of the new high school accountability model,” Swencki said.
Swencki said it was unclear how the SAT participation rate would be affected moving forward because of the required ACT administration.
Brunswick County students who took the SAT scored an average of 977 on the combined critical reading and math scores, which was up 13 points from 2011. Overall increases were reached at three of the county’s four high schools, but the school system’s average was below the state average of 997.
“Increasing student participation and system-wide combined performance on the SAT are two of our system’s strategic priorities. These gains are good news,” Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Edward Pruden said.
Participation rates and scores from New Hanover County Schools weren’t immediately available.
SAT scores and Common Core Standards
According to the College Board, Common Core State Standards, which have been implemented in all North Carolina classrooms this year, were designed to provide “a rigorous learning platform that prepares our nation’s students to perform in the classroom, to succeed in college and to prosper in their careers.”
Common Core Standards were introduced in kindergarten-through-second-grade-classrooms in North Carolina last year, with full implementation through 12th grade taking place this year.
The College Board has been a collaborator in developing Common Core Standards, which utilize a research-based curriculum that focuses on teaching students research techniques by using more primary sources in instruction.
Laura Hunter, a history teacher at South Brunswick High School, said Common Core Standards allow teachers to teach their students how to think.
“Thinking has been for a long time a very vague thing that is very hard to define. But thinking is a visual event. You can look around my classroom and you can see thinking has become very visible in my space. That is in science, in math, in English, in social studies, in broadcasting, in horticulture. That is where this all comes together. We are all unified in this one common goal, which kids need to become thinkers in order to become active participants of the 21st century world,” Hunter said.
College Board officials say they are committed to helping states and schools districts best implement Common Core Standards in the classroom.
“The SAT is aligned to the Common Core State Standards as well or better than any assessment that has been developed for college admission and/or placement. The College Board will continue to invest in and is committed to building deeper alignment to ensure the SAT reflects the key components of the CCSS,” according to a College Board press release.