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Education: Scores fall as more students take SAT

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

The average score for Waccamaw High seniors on the SAT college entrance exam last year dropped 75 points, according to results released today.

Anticipating the announcement, the Georgetown County School District said last week it has dropped an online SAT prep program in favor of teacher-led prep classes. A growing percentage of students are taking the exam, which school officials note is designed to predict performance in college-level classes.

“There is no substitute for face-to-face rigorous instruction,” said Patti Hammel, the district’s director of student performance. “Anytime you find the number of test takers increasing there is usually a decline in the overall averages.”

At Waccamaw High, 87 percent of seniors took the exam last year. That was up 10 percent from 2011. The drop in the average composite score for the three-part exam put Waccamaw below the national average for public school students. At 1,459, the school’s average was still well above the state averages for all students and for those in public schools.

The biggest drop in average scores came in writing, which fell from 504 to 470. The average reading score fell 27 points to 484, and the math average fell 14 points to 505. A perfect score is 800 on each section.

The drop at Waccamaw led the district composite score average lower by 56 points. At Georgetown High, the composite average fell 66 points to 1,275. The number of seniors taking the test rose 4 percent to 60 percent.

At Andrews High, where the number of seniors taking the test rose to 44 percent from 31 percent in 2011, the average composite score fell 52 points to 1,267.

Carvers Bay High recorded a 5 point rise in scores to 1,338, but only 30 percent of senior took the test, a decline of 11 percent.

In the state’s public schools, the average composite score fell 5 points to 1,422. The national average for public schools fell 2 points to 1,498.

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