by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
SAT and Advanced Placement scores were released today.
I’ll get to the scores in a minute. What I find strange is that the number of public school students taking the SAT dropped by only 0.1 percent. The state gives ACT tests to all 11th-grade students at no cost to the family or district. I assumed that college-bound kids would use their ACT scores for college admissions, thereby sparing their parent the expense of taking the SAT. It is a “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free” sort of thing. Apparently, North Carolina is a cow-buying state.
Statewide, the average reading and math scores for public school students increased by 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively. North Carolina’s average reading and math scores are slightly above national averages. Our state average reading score is 493, compared to 492 nationally. Likewise, North Carolina’s average math score was 504, which was three points higher than the national average. The average writing score dropped by two points to 471 and is way below the national average of 478.
There were double-digit increases in Advanced Placement participation and test-taking. The number of scores falling in the 3-5 range also rose by 5.3 percent. Participation, test-taking, and scores 3-5 were all up nationally.
It is impossible to identify the causes of these test score changes, although some will do so anyway. One thing is for sure. These scores do not indicate the success or failure of Common Core. These students attended elementary and middle school before adoption of the Common Core State Standards.