South Carolina students exceed nation on SAT

The College Board released national and South Carolina specific results for their SAT and Advanced Placement assessments. South Carolina students again exceeded the nation on eight out of the top ten tested subjects of Advanced Placement exams. The state’s decision to cover the costs of the SAT assessment and the implementation of the SAT School Day resulted in an over 6,000 more students taking the test, an increase of nearly thirty percent from 2018 and one of the largest increases in the country.
“South Carolina’s continued national prominence on Advanced Placement is testament to the rigorous instruction delivered by teachers across our state,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “This year we also saw an unprecedented number of students taking the SAT, many of whom would not have had the opportunity had the state not made the decision two years ago to cover its cost. We must now ensure that this new opportunity is met with the necessary course work to be successful in college and beyond.”
South Carolina saw growth in the number of Advanced Placement (AP) exams taken and the number of exams with scores of 3, 4, or 5 while the numbers of students taking exams remained stagnant. The number of students taking exams was 32,482.  The number of exams taken increased 2.0% to 53,147 exams.  The number of AP exams with scores of 3, 4, or 5 increased 2.2% to 31,088 exams.
AP exam scores of 3 indicate a candidate who is qualified to take college-level courses. Scores of 4 indicate someone who is well qualified and a 5 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.
The number of Computer Science AP exams taken (CS – A or CS Principles) increased 37% to 1348 exams. A recent report showed that South Carolina had the fastest growing student participation in Computer Science  in the nation.
On the SAT, a total of 31,633 South Carolina students or 68% of the Class of 2019 took the SAT assessment. Of the total number of test takers, 28,321 were public school students, an increase of 6,180 students or 28% from the Class of 2018.
Students from the Class of 2019 are the first cohort to participate in South Carolina’s student choice college entrance exam program. Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, all South Carolina juniors were offered an opportunity to take a state-funded college entrance exam (either the SAT or ACT) which were administered during the school day. The College Board notes that school day test administrations eliminate barriers and simplify the test day experience for students, which makes the SAT accessible to students who would not or could not have tested on a weekend. SAT School Day also increases diversity in the test-taking population by making it possible for more low-income students, underrepresented minority students, and students from families with no history of college attendance to take the SAT. In the Class of 2019, there were 16,429 SAT School Day test takers from South Carolina public schools.
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 public school students overall mean score was 1021 compared with the national public school mean of 1039 . SC’s mean ERW score was 521 compared with the national mean of 524 . The state’s Math average score was 500 while the nation’s was 515 .
African American student participation accounted for 25% of all test takers compared to the national participation rate of 13% .
Advance Placement Data
2019:   Summary   (PDF, 61 KB) or   Data by School   (XLSX, 23 KB)
SAT Data
2019:   2019 Data by School (XLSX, 33 KB) or   2019 Data by District   (XLSX, 20 KB)