The average SAT score for Wake County high school seniors who took the exam in the 2012-13 school year is up seven points from the previous year, according to results released September 26 by the College Board.
WCPSS seniors earned an average of 1572 on the college entrance exam, surpassing the state average by 93 points and exceeding the national average by 74 points. Wake County test takers also continued to outperform students in the state’s other large urban districts. (See “WCPSS Compared to Other N.C. Districts” below.)
WCPSS students made gains in critical reading, where the average score increased by three points, and in the writing portion of the exam, for which the average score increased by six points. The average score on the math portion of the exam dipped two points.
Similarly, test-takers across North Carolina saw increases in scores in writing and critical reading, but math scores did not change in 2012-13. Although the total average score in North Carolina improved, nationally the average total score on the exam did not change.
“We are pleased with the incremental gains students showed on the SAT last year,” Deputy Superintendent Cathy Moore said. “Our work moving forward is to ensure that students show growth, continue to participate in large numbers, and that our district average demonstrates steady gains.”
The College Board reports that 6,243 WCPSS seniors took the exam, which represents 69 percent of the 12th graders enrolled in the district as of April 2013. This rate is down approximately five percentage points from the previous year in Wake County. When calculating the participation rate of WCPSS seniors who took the exam and actually graduated, the participation rate shows a similar drop from 76 to 67 percent.
The decrease in participation mirrors a dip in participation across the state, which is likely related to a new requirement that all high school juniors in North Carolina to take the ACT college entrance exam. Since nearly all of last year’s seniors took the ACT as juniors, many of them may have opted not to take a second college entrance exam at their own expense.
WCPSS compared to other N.C. districts
WCPSS students continue to earn significantly higher scores on the SAT compared to the state’s other large urban districts.
The total average score in 2012-13 for WCPSS students was 92 points higher than Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, 94 points higher than Forsyth County schools, 139 points higher than Guilford County schools, and 205 points higher than Cumberland County schools.
About the SAT
The SAT is a national exam offered through the College Board. The exam is designed to measure a student’s chance of success at the college level.
This is the eighth year the SAT has comprised three sections—math, critical reading, and writing. The writing section includes multiple-choice questions and an essay. Students may score up to 800 points on each of the three sections for a total possible score of 2400.