SC students improve on AP, SAT exams - - Columbia, South Carolina |

SC students improve on AP, SAT exams

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South Carolina students improved their performance on college level Advanced Placement (AP) exams, and more students than ever before took the college-credit granting exams according to statistics released by the College Board. 

South Carolina Department of Education officials said the state's SAT scores, though improved, still lag behind the national average.


The average SAT composite score for all South Carolina graduating seniors was 1436, an increase of five points from 2012. The national average for all students held constant with a score of 1498. In South Carolina, the average critical reading score was 484, math was 487, and writing was 465; 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 1423, up one point from 2012.  The national average was 1474, down three points from 2012.  Critical reading was 479, math was 484, and writing was 460.  The national averages were 491 for critical reading, 503 for math, and 480 for writing. 

"Like the other college admission test ACT, the SAT is not a measure of school effectiveness," said South Carolina Superintendent of Education Mick Zais. "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."


The percentage of public school-only students receiving a score of 3, 4, or 5 on AP exams increased 9.6 percent during school year 2012-13.  The percentage of all-students in South Carolina receiving at least a score of 3 increased by 8.7 percent.  Participation rates among public school-only students increased 9.3 percent and among all-students by 9 percent.  South Carolina exceeded the national growth rates of 6.1 percent for public school-only students and 6 percent for all-students.

"While AP scores are not an accurate indicator of school performance, the success of these individual students is a noteworthy accomplishment," said Zais. "The students, their parents, and their teachers deserve all the credit for these gains."

"These courses offer students college-level rigor without the price tag of college tuition. By taking advantage of the opportunities AP exams present, students can cut future costs associated with continuing their education," Zais said.

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 2012-13 were English Language and Composition, United States History, English Literature and Composition, Human Geography, and Calculus AB.

Click the following links to see statistics for specific school districts in the Midlands.

Calhoun District 1

Clarendon District 1

Clarendon District 2

Clarendon District 3

Fairfield District 1

Kershaw District 1

Lee District 1

Lexington District 1

Lexington District 2

Lexington District 3

Lexington District 4

Lexington-Richland District 5

Newberry District 1

Orangeburg District 3

Orangeburg District 4

Orangeburg District 5

Richland District 1

Richland District 2

Sumter District 1

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