Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Students in-state showed improvement in their college-level Advanced Placement test scores, and more students than ever took the college-credit granting exams, but the SAT scores declined for the state.
The average SAT composite score for all South Carolina graduating seniors was 1431, down five points. The national average dropped two points to an average score of 1498.
In South Carolina, critical reading was 481, math was 488, and writing was 462; compared to the national average for all schools of 496, 514, and 488.
In the public school sector, seniors graduating in South Carolina scored a composite of 1422, down five points from 2011. The national average was 1477, down four points from 2011.
Critical reading was 477, math was 487, and writing was 458. The national averages were 491 for critical reading, 506 for math, and 481 for writing.
State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais raised issue with the state's lagging scores, particularly in critical reading and writing.
Like the other college admission test ACT, the SAT is not a measure of school effectiveness. However, 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."
"Addressing the reading gap in elementary school must be our top priority because reading is fundamental to everything else in a student's education. If students cannot read, they will not succeed in school," said Zais. "To accomplish this goal, we must transform education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that delivers a personalized and customized education to each student."
Advanced Placement Scores
AP courses - and the accompanying College Board exams that demonstrate mastery of the course material - allow students to earn college credit while still in high school. The exams are graded on a scale of 1-5, with a score of 5 demonstrating the highest level of performance. Since 1984, South Carolina has paid for AP instructional materials, paid students' test fees, and offered specialized training for teachers. Every student enrolled in an AP course is required to take the test. Students can earn college credit at most institutions of higher education with scores of 3, 4, or 5.
The five most-taken AP exams in 2011-12 were United States History, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Calculus AB, and Human Geography.
All South Carolina colleges and universities accept either SAT or ACT scores for admission. The five South Carolina universities receiving the most scores from all South Carolina SAT test-takers were the University of South Carolina (Columbia), Clemson, College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina, and Winthrop. Eighty-nine percent of the state's SAT participants said they hope to earn a two-year degree or higher in their postsecondary career. Their most popular fields for majors are Health Professions, Business, Engineering, Visual and Performing Arts, and Education.
To view SAT scores by district, click here
To view SAT scores by school, click here
To view AP trend data, click here