SC students outperform nation in SAT, AP exams, new report shows

SC students outperform nation in SAT, AP exams, new report shows

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A new College Board report released Thursday shows that South Carolina students who took the exam outscored students nationally - 15 points above the national average on the SAT.

In addition to the SAT scores, South Carolina students exceeded the nation on eight out of the top 10 tested Advanced Placement test subjects.

“These results illustrate the importance of an education system that is based off multiple measures, said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “While there is still work to be done in other areas, the data from these two rigorous national assessments prove that South Carolina students can surpass their peers nationally and that our schools are moving in the right direction.”

Here is the breakdown, per College Board:


A total of 22,141 South Carolina students or 50 percent of the class of 2018 took the SAT assessment, a 5.7 percent increase from last year’s class.

The SAT relies on two main components, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) and Math. The Essay section is optional. Scores range from 400 to 1600 overall with 200 to 800 coming from ERW and 200 – 800 coming from Math.

South Carolina’s overall mean score was 1064, fifteen points above the national mean of 1049. SC’s mean ERW score was 543, fourteen points above the national mean of 529. The state and national math mean were the same, 520. 44 percent of SC test takers met both ERW and Math College and Career Ready Benchmarks.

African American student participation accounted for 26 percent of all test takers which more than doubling the national participation rate of 13 percent.

Advanced Placement (AP)

South Carolina saw growth in all three major areas of AP participation and performance.

  • The number of students taking exams increased by 5.7 percent to 32,641. 
  • The number of exams increased by 6.6 percent to 52,115 exams. 
  • The number of AP exams with scores of three or higher increased by 10.1 percent to 30,427 exams. 

AP exam scores of three indicate a candidate who is qualified to take college-level courses. Scores of four indicate someone who is well-qualified and a five indicates someone who is extremely well-qualified. Colleges and universities often grant class credit and use AP scores of three or more to place students in higher course levels.

South Carolina students outperformed the national average in percentage of exams with scores of three or more on eight of the top ten most popular Advanced Placement tested subjects.

In all, 7,795 South Carolina students were named AP Scholars, meaning they scored three or higher on three or more AP exams. This is an 8.6 percent increase from 2017.

By comparison, ACT released 2018 South Carolina high school graduate assessment data on Oct. 17, showing a “slip” in the average composit score from 18.7 in 2017 to 18.3 in 2018. Additionally, 14 percent of graduates met all four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks down from 15 percent in 2017.

State, School District, and School Level Data for the SAT and AP assessments can be accessed by visiting this link.

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