District, state, national average SAT scores drop

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Average SAT scores of 2012 graduating seniors in the Beaufort County School District decreased from the previous year, the College Board reported. Average scores also decreased across South Carolina and the nation as a whole.
Average scores for Beaufort County public school seniors dropped from 1,397 in 2011 to 1,381 in 2012.  Average scores at three of the district’s five high schools improved, while scores at one decreased and scores at one were reported for the first time:
• Hilton Head Island High’s 2012 seniors posted the district’s highest average scores at 1,479, up from 1,473 last year (84 percent of seniors tested).
• Beaufort High’s seniors posted the district’s highest increase in scores, improving to an average of 1,419 (59 percent tested), up from 1,381 last year.
• Battery Creek High’s average was 1,265 (52 percent tested), down from 1,285 last year.
• Whale Branch Early College High graduated its first senior class in June, so it received school SAT averages for the first time at 1,155 (66 percent tested).
Statewide, South Carolina’s overall 2012 state public school average was down five points to 1,431. The national average dropped two points to 1,498.
Superintendent Valerie Truesdale said schools are analyzing SAT and ACT data. Overall district averages on SAT and ACT college entrance exams have remained stagnant in recent years while other local high school achievement data have improved significantly. Earlier this year, 81.4 percent of Beaufort County high school students passed both sections of the exit exam on their first attempt compared to only 70.3 percent five years ago. On the Algebra 1 end-of-course exam, 80.5 percent passed in 2012 compared to 70.6 percent five years ago; 73.2 passed the English end-of-course exam in 2012 compared to 60.7 five years ago.
“We are proud that Bluffton High posted significant increases and Hilton Head Island and Beaufort High increased as well.  Whale Branch’s first graduating class posted an average of 1,155 with 66% of seniors taking the test,” Truesdale said.
Chief Instructional Officer Dereck Rhoads said the district’s high schools would make SAT/ACT preparation courses more accessible and also make better use of individual student feedback from preliminary SAT and ACT tests.