North Carolina’s high school students are scoring above the national average on the revamped SAT exam although the majority of the state’s seniors are no longer taking the college admissions test.
North Carolina’s graduating class of 2017 posted an average score of 1,081 on the new SAT exam – 21 points above the national average of 1,060. The College Board overhauled the exam with changes that lowered the maximum score to 1,600, eliminated obscure vocabulary words, dropped the penalty for guessing and made the essay optional.
The new SAT debuted in March 2016, but this was the first graduating class in which the majority of test-takers were using the new exam instead of the old one. College Board officials say the changes are significant enough that people shouldn’t compare scores between the new and old exams.
Go to www.collegeboard.org/program-results to view national and state-by-state results. Scores for individual North Carolina high schools and districts are not immediately available.
North Carolina was the butt of jokes in 1996 for having the 48th average SAT score in the nation, just three rungs from the bottom. But state education officials noted that many of the states above North Carolina had lower participation rates on the exam.
The state’s average score and ranking rose over time. But the participation rate on the SAT has dropped since North Carolina started requiring all high school juniors to take the rival ACT exam in 2012. For the first time in many years, less than half of the state’s seniors took the SAT at 49 percent.
North Carolina scored above the national average on the ACT when it was an optional test. Results earlier this month put North Carolina’s average ACT score at 19.1 – below the national average of 21. Like with the SAT, the states with the top ACT scores tend to only have a minority of students taking the exam.