Sampson County area schools improve SAT, AP scores

By Chase Jordan -


Although SAT scores declined throughout the nation in 2015, several schools throughout Sampson County improved.

According to The College Board, North Carolina’s performance for the college readiness showed a decline in average scores. In a news release from the state’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI), the change is similar to results nationwide.

The data provided included totals for math, critical reading and writing. As a whole, Sampson County increased in all categories. When it comes to scores, the maximum for each category is 800 points. The highest possible score in 2400.

In 2015, the average SAT score for Sampson County students is 1360, which is an increase from the 2014 score of 1312. According to data, the number of students taking the test decreased from 246 to 216. Sampson Early College had the highest average score in 2015 among county schools at 1557, followed by Hobbton High School (1350), Lakewood High School (1225), Midway High School (1428) and Union High School (1310).

The average SAT score for Clinton High School (CHS) came out to 1297, which is a decrease from 2014’s average score of 1339. According to data, the school had 113 test takers in 2015, one less than the previous year. Principal Dr. Steven Miller said CHS has more students to test, compared to others in the area and mentioned how it’s a “game of numbers.”

“We believe very firmly in making sure that we give every student the opportunity to take the SAT and to show that opportunity for success,” Miller said. When you look at the percent that we have tested, where much higher than others region.”

Miller said the school is putting active steps in place in regards to the SAT. The school is currently offering SAT prep classes prior to test dates. He said school officials are working diligently in several tested areas.

“It’s a piece of the puzzle that fits into different places at the high school,” Miller said. “We’re working very actively to do that.”

But it was previously reported that the average ACT score is up .1 percent for Clinton City students. The composite score increased from 40.5 in 2013-14 to 40.6 in 2014-15. In the future, Miller said a lot of time was spent on ACT preparation. He also alluded to how the SAT format will change and become more like the ACT beginning this school year.

“The SAT is very tricky to take,” Miller said regarding the questions and structure. “Sometimes you have to take two or three steps before you can answer the question. So they will change to a more direct format like the ACT.”

In 2015, senior students in the state averaged a admission score of 1478 on the SAT, which is down just five points from the previous year. The national average is 1490.

In addition, DPI reported that more students throughout North Carolina took Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which offers students the opportunity to take college-level coursework in high school.

A total of 67,678 North Carolina students took 125,547 AP exams in 2015. This is 18.7 percent more than 2014 and nationally, the number of exam numbers were up by 6 percent.

Recently, Dr. Mark Duckworth, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction for Clinton City Schools, reported that AP numbers are improving. During the 2014-2015 school year, 94 students took AP exams, which is an increase from the 87 test takers who took the test.

To pass or be proficient, students must score a Level 3 or better on the exam. According to Clinton City Schools officials, 21 percent of test takers earned a passing score. It was an increase from last year’s 20 percent and the 16 percent the previous year. The highest score possible is 5.

DPI officials reported that “broadening access to college-level courses for qualified students continues to be a priority of North Carolina public school educators and state lawmakers.”

In 2015, funding was provided to pay for all students’ AP exams for the 2015-2016 school year. The participation rate in several racial groups increased in North Carolina as well. White students participation increased by 16 percent, while American Indian students increased by 45.1 percent. Black students participation increased to 22.8 percent grew by 22.8 percent and Asian students rate improved by 14 percent.

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

By Chase Jordan


Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

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