The state has released SAT scores for the class of 2016, with Surry County right at the state average and Mount Airy a little below.
Across the state, 54,663 students from the recent graduating class took the Scholastic Assessment Test, a 3.5-hour exam that measures critical reading and mathematical reasoning skills. The test also measures students’ writing abilities through multiple choice grammar and usage and a written essay.
The state average has been virtually the same the past three years. The combined score was 1,483, 1,478 and 1,478 respectively. The highest score possible is 2400.
Surry County Schools came in 1 percent above average at 1,489, while Mount Airy City Schools was only 3.7 percent below the state average at 1,423.
Elkin City Schools had the highest score of the three with 1,558, but with a small sample size of just 22 students.
The state requires students to take the ACT, but the SAT is voluntary, explained Carrie Venable, Mount Airy City Schools public information officer.
Venable noted that 37.6 percent of the graduating class (47 kids) chose to take this optional assessment.
“This is a high rate of students for a test that is not required; and although our achievement rate is slightly lower than the state average, we are pleased that such a percentage chose to take the test,” she said.
Surry County Schools, had 161 students, or 25.4 percent, take the test. Elkin’s 22 students made up 21.6 percent of the class.
“MACS is committed to all students acquiring the tools necessary to be successful in the workplace and/or college,” the district stated in a press release.
“Our schools are committed to serving students’ individual needs, help them set goals of college success and equip them to meet their goals and aspirations,” said Dr. Kim Morrison, city superintendent.
“I am proud of our students and their efforts on the SAT, and I am proud of the schools for providing an environment that promotes a college-going culture and career readiness,” said Dr. Travis Reeves, Surry County superintendent.
“The new norm we are creating for next generation high school students is not just a high school diploma, but also earned college credits and college credentials,” he said.
SAT scores are compared with the scores of other college applicants, and the accepted scores at an institution, and the county district is proud that its students are competitive with other students across the state. The SAT scores also can be used as a basis for awarding merit-based financial aid.
According to Dr. Jeff Tunstall, assistant superintendent for student services, county scores have grown 15 points higher in math and critical reading and 19 points higher in writing over the past five years.
This happened despite the fact that the county schools saw its participation jump up to 25.4 percent from about 19 last year.
Tunstall said there are two factors in why Surry County’s participation isn’t even higher.
“This most recent graduating cohort of students continued to benefit from the Career and College Promise and from North Carolina administering the ACT at no cost to students,” said Tunstall.
“Since most colleges requiring a college placement test accept either the SAT or the ACT, I believe many of our graduates continue to chose not to take the SAT as an additional test. Also, with the growth of the Career and College Promise program, many of our highest achieving students, who once would have taken a college placement test, are now leaving high school with enough college credits to enter college as transfer students.”
“We believe our students should understand and see that their education is relevant to a successful life beyond Surry County Schools,” said Reeves. “This college-going and career-ready culture is evidenced by the 3,109 college credits earned last year by our students.”