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Education: SAT scores rise at Waccamaw High, countering national and state trends

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

The average SAT scores for Georgetown County seniors rose this year while scores fell in the nation and in South Carolina. Waccamaw High scores, which rose 10 points, are above the state and national average.

“We have always been a very college-driven school,” said Christine King, a WHS guidance counselor.

The average composite score on the three-part test was 1,534 for WHS seniors. The average was 1,427 for South Carolina seniors in public schools, down 12 points. The national average was down 10 points to 1,483.

Average scores rose at the other three high schools, with Carvers Bay posting a 90-point rise.

“When the state and nation went backward, we went forward,” said Patti Hammel, the district’s director of student performance.

She noted the emphasis the district placed on reading and writing in all grades, which have led to higher scores on standardized tests.

The district also provides more resources for SAT practice, she said.

Two popular online prep sites use games to hone language and math skills, King said.

Even though the average math score for Waccamaw seniors was down 6 points, it was offset by a rise in reading and writing scores. The average state score on the reading portion of the SAT was 479. It was 490 for math and 464 for writing. A perfect score is 800.

The average reading score at WHS was 511, a rise of 11 points. The average math score was 519. The average writing score was 504, a rise of 4 points.

“Our kids do well because they’re expected to do well,” King said. “Plus, we have great teachers. It’s a culmination of what they’ve learned.”

Of the 163 seniors in the Class of 2010, 76 scored at least 1,100 on the SAT and 24 on the ACT, making them eligible for Life Scholarships, King said.

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