The SAT results for every North Carolina public high school and school district from this past school year were posted Friday by the state Department of Public Instruction.
The results show that North Carolina’s public high school students scored an average 1,074 on the SAT college-entrance exam – 30 points above the national average for public school students during the 2016-17 school year. Previously released results that included scores for private school students had put the state’s average SAT score at 1,081.
The new scores reflect changes the College Board made to the exam in March 2016 that lowered the maximum score to 1,600, eliminated obscure vocabulary words, dropped the penalty for guessing and made the essay optional. College Board officials say the changes are significant enough that people shouldn’t compare scores between the new and old exams.
The results show that schools with fewer low-income students tend to have higher average SAT scores than schools with more economically disadvantaged students.
The top-scoring high school in Wake County was Raleigh Charter High School, whose average SAT score of 1,318 was also the third-highest score in the state. State records show that 5 percent of Raleigh Charter’s students are considered economically disadvantaged.
Among high schools in the Wake County school system, the schools with the top SAT scores were:
▪ Green Hope High in Cary – 1,223
▪ Enloe High in Raleigh – 1,201
▪ Apex High – 1,194
▪ Panther Creek High in Cary – 1,192
▪ Wake STEM Early College in Raleigh – 1,186
Enloe, which serves both a group of mainly low-income students who live near the school and magnet students from around the county, was the only school in Wake’s top five where more than 22 percent of students were economically disadvantaged.
The five Wake County high schools with the lowest average SAT scores were:
▪ Southeast Raleigh High – 962
▪ Vernon Malone College and Career Academy in Raleigh – 983
▪ Knightdale High – 994
▪ East Wake High in Wendell – 1,001
▪ Rolesville High –1,036.
All five schools had at least 42 percent of their students who were economically disadvantaged.
High SAT scores can matter. This year’s average SAT score for N.C. State’s freshmen class was 1,308.
Some other facts from the SAT results:
▪ The N.C. School of Science and Mathematics, a public boarding school in Durham that serves gifted students from across the state, had the state’s highest average SAT score at 1,410;
▪ The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system had the highest average SAT score of any North Carolina school district at 1,231;
▪ The Wake County school system’s average SAT score of 1,130 is the ninth-highest of any district in the state;
▪ Only 44 percent of North Carolina public high school seniors took the SAT during the 2016-17 school year compared to 68 percent during the 2011-12 school year.
Fewer students have been taking the SAT since North Carolina started requiring all high school juniors to take the rival ACT exam in 2012.