Resist the temptation to get upset about the drop in North Carolina’s average SAT score.

Here are the details:

In North Carolina, Critical Reading scores decreased by two points to 493 while Math scores declined by one point to 508. The average Writing score in 2011 was 474 – a drop of two points from the previous year. For the nation, Critical Reading decreased three points to 497; Math declined one point to 514; and Writing dropped two points to 489.

Yes, North Carolina’s decrease followed the national trend, but do not discount the role of our higher-than-ever participation rate (67 percent) in pulling scores down.  Our SAT score captured even more academically weak students than in the past.

On a related note, the participation rate suggests that the demand for post-secondary education remains strong, even among those ill prepared to continue their education.