S.C., Beaufort County SAT scores for seniors down again

Flickr user timlewisnm

A press release sent out by the Beaufort County Board of Education this morning states that SAT scores for Beaufort and S.C.'s graduating seniors as a whole are down in 2012, that's following a drop in 2011.

The average Beaufort County score dropped by 16 points, nearly mirroring last year's drop of 17 points. The average score for S.C. was down by five points, that's less than half of 2011's 12 point drop.

But at Beaufort High the average was up to 1,419 (from 1,381 last year) though 6% less of the class took the test. Meanwhile Battery Creek High’s average was down to 1,265 (from 1,285 last year) though that school saw 5% more of the class take the test.

Whale Branch Early College High graduated its first senior class in June, so it received school SAT averages for the first time at 1,155 (66 percent tested, the highest rate of any North of the Broad school).

You can read the full press release below.

Average SAT scores of 2012 graduating seniors in the Beaufort County School District decreased from the previous year, the College Board reported today. Average scores also decreased across South Carolina and the nation as a whole.

Average scores for Beaufort County public school seniors dropped from 1,397 in 2011 to 1,381 in 2012.  Average scores at three of the district’s five high schools improved, while scores at one decreased and scores at one were reported for the first time:

  • Hilton Head Island High’s 2012 seniors posted the district’s highest average scores at 1,479, up from 1,473 last year (84 percent of seniors tested).
  • Bluffton High’s seniors posted the district’s highest increase in scores, improving to an average of 1,420 (68 percent tested), up from 1,395 last year.
  • Beaufort High’s average was 1,419 (59 percent tested), up from 1,381 last year.
  • Battery Creek High’s average was 1,265 (52 percent tested), down from 1,285 last year.
  • Whale Branch Early College High graduated its first senior class in June, so it received school SAT averages for the first time at 1,155 (66 percent tested).

Statewide, South Carolina’s overall 2012 state public school average was down five points to 1,431.  The national average dropped two points to 1,498.

Superintendent Valerie Truesdale said schools are analyzing SAT and ACT data. Overall district averages on SAT and ACT college entrance exams have remained stagnant in recent years while other local high school achievement data have improved significantly. Earlier this year, 81.4 percent of Beaufort County high school students passed both sections of the exit exam on their first attempt compared to only 70.3 percent five years ago.  On the Algebra 1 end-of-course exam, 80.5 percent passed in 2012 compared to 70.6 percent five years ago; 73.2 passed the English end-of-course exam in 2012 compared to 60.7 five years ago. 

“We are proud that Bluffton High posted significant increases and Hilton Head Island and Beaufort High increased as well.  Whale Branch’s first graduating class posted an average of 1,155 with 66% of seniors taking the test.  We can see that students are stretching toward college yet we have to remain vigilant in advising students to take the most rigorous course of study they can manage. We strive to foster a culture in our schools that helps students and their families understand that tomorrow’s good-paying jobs require education beyond high school.  We also know the best way to earn good scores on college admissions tests is to be prepared by completing the recommended academic courses before taking the SAT or the ACT.  Preparation is the key to doing well.” 

Chief Instructional Officer Dereck Rhoads said the district’s high schools would make SAT/ACT preparation courses more accessible and also make better use of individual student feedback from preliminary SAT and ACT tests.

Rhoads also pointed out that district’s steadily improving academic results among younger students could result in improved SAT and ACT scores when those students become high schoolers. 

The numbers of Beaufort County public school seniors taking the SAT have declined since 2009 as more students have chosen to take the ACT.  Rhoads said that high school guidance counselors have taken a more active role in suggesting to students which of the two college entrance exams best suits their academic strengths.

Filed in