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Education: Waccamaw SAT scores buck trend

The average SAT scores for Waccamaw High seniors rose this year while scores fell in the nation and in South Carolina.

The College Board, which owns the widely-used college entrance exam, recalculated school-level data for the 2009-10 school year, which delayed its release until this week.

The average composite score on the three-part test was 1,534 for WHS seniors. That was up 9 points from 2010. The average was 1,427 for South Carolina seniors in public schools. That was down 12 points. The national average was down 10 points to 1,483.

Scores for Waccamaw High students are traditionally higher than the state and national average. 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 critical 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.

State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais pointed out that the SAT isn’t a measure of “school effectiveness,” but added “within the student population taking the SAT is another data point confirming a troubling trend: there is a wide reading gap between South Carolina and the nation.”

The national average for critical reading was 497.

“Addressing the reading gap in elementary school must be our top priority,” Zais said.

Georgetown County schools have pushed reading in elementary and upper grades, and saw improvement in scores on state standardized tests this year. The average reading score on the SAT also rose at Carvers Bay High, but fell at Georgetown and Andrews.

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