North Carolina SAT exam participation rate and scores for 2018 graduates rose slightly over the previous year’s scores according to the latest results released by the College Board last week.
North Carolina’s average SAT score for public school students graduating in 2018 was 1,090, which is a 16 point gain over the previous year and 41 points higher than the national average of 1,049.
Factoring in private, parochial and homeschool student scores, the state’s average score increases 8 points to 1,098, which is a 17 point gain over 2017 scores.
The breakout by the two main test components is as follows with the national average in parentheses:
- Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) increased from 542 to 550. 
- Math portion rose from 532 to 540. 
According to the SAT report for North Carolina, only 52 percent of North Carolina students from the class of 2018 who took the SAT met the exam’s college readiness benchmarks. That’s only a gain of 2 points over 2017.
Then again, one has to ask the question: What the heck does Career and College ready actually mean?
The Magic 8 Ball says the reply is hazy, try again later.
Is it some mystical number that means kids will do OK in college? That’s how they sell it but no one is really buying that.
No one, not even the College Boards’s David “Common Core” Coleman, has given a good answer to that question really.
Redesigned and ‘Common Core Aligned’ Test Show Small Gains
Nationwide, only 47 percent of test takers met career and college readiness benchmarks, which is only a 1 point gain over the prior year.
Clearly, 8 years of Common Core have not produced the education achievement miracle the standards said they could perform.
What’s yawn-inducing about these scores is that they’re averages and this not something to get excited over in any way, shape or form as Peter Greene notes in his Forbes article:
The average score “jumped” from 1060 to 1068. That’s 0.7%. If your child retook the test in hopes of a higher score, and that’s all they squeaked out, nobody would be trading high fives.
It is important to remember that these small gains involved a reconfigure SAT test. Students who took the SAT in 2018 were taking the version which was redesigned in 2014 and Common Core-aligned in 2015.
In 2015, school counselors were telling students to avoid the redesigned SAT in favor of other tests like the ACT. Many colleges dropped the SAT essay portion as a requirement as well, which precipitated a mini-war of sorts between the SAT and the ACT. Read more about that in my article NC Scores On Latest ACT Test Are Abysmal.
These small gains also can likely be attributed in part to more students in North Carolina taking the SAT than the prior year. However, nationally, the large increase in the number of test-takers did not translate to big increases in scores.
44,325 (47%) of public school students took the exam in 2017 versus 48,535 (49%) in 2018. That’s an increase of 4,210 more SAT takers in 2018. According to the state level report for North Carolina, the state had 54,987 2018 test-takers overall.
The College Board reported that nationally “More than 2.1 million students in the class of 2018 took the redesigned SAT, an increase of 25% over the class of 2017.”
The numbers are self-inflated through an aggressive campaign to require students to take the test.
Since the redesign of the SAT, multiple states have made it a requirement that every student must take the SAT. 20 states, plus the District of Columbia, have contracts with the College Board to administer the SAT to high school juniors for free.
While the number of test takers increased significantly over 2017, the scores barely inched up. The 2018 graduating class’ average score only rose 8 points to 1068; Reading writing average of 536 and Math average of 531.