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Trend of WHS Seniors ‘Consistently, Significantly’ Ranking Above State, National Averages for SAT Scores Continues

By Jesse Wood

Oct. 15, 2014. Historically, the school system of Watauga County has consistently ranked in the top five in the state for SAT scores, a standardized test designed to test a student’s readiness for college in three categories: critical reading, writing and arithmetic.

This past year was no different for the local school system, which placed second in the state when compared with overall countywide and citywide school results.

Seniors at Watauga High School averaged 1617 on the SAT in 2014, according to data released by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction in October. This is compared to the state average of 1483 and the national average of 1497. Ashe and Avery school systems, for example, had an average of 1457 and 1415, respectively.

WCSWCS spokesman Marshall Ashcraft said that the school system for at least the past 15 years has “consistently and significantly” fared better than the state and national average and typically its students’ scores range in between second and fourth place in the state.

As far as the 2014 results go, Ashcraft said administrators were “pleased at the [SAT] performance” by the students.

“It shows a lot of hard work by our students, teachers and school administrators to achieve that level of performance,” Ashcraft said.

The only other school system to average higher scores than WCS was the Chapel Hill-Carrboro district, which had an average of 1753. Three of its schools – Carbaro, Chapel Hill and East Chapel high schools – scored at least 1736.

A number of other schools in the state singularly placed higher than the single high school in WCS, but most of those were “early college” schools and a couple charter institutions.

Students at WHS improved their results from the previous two years. In 2012, local students averaged 1587, and in 2013, students scored 1605.

For 2014, 223 students at WHS posted 549 for math, 548 for critical reading and 520 for writing. All of these scores exceeded the state and national averages as well.

A release from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction stated that seniors in the state posted an improvement of four points for the overall SAT score:

“North Carolina’s critical reading score (499) surpassed the nation’s reading score (497). The math score in North Carolina was 507 while the nation’s math average was 513. On the writing test, North Carolina’s average was 477 versus the national average of 487.”

N.C. Superintendent June Atkinson added that she was pleased with the improvement.

“SAT scores are very important to students and their families as they navigate the college admissions process. I congratulate the Class of 2014 and hope to see that trend continue.”

See release from NCDPI here.

See spreadsheet of scores here.