LUMBERTON — Average SAT scores across Robeson County’s seven high schools plunged for the most recent school year, according to figures released Monday by the state Department of Public Instruction.
Students in Robeson averaged a score of 1,247 on the 2012 college entrance exam, down 27 points from an average score of 1,274 in 2011 and 21 points from 1,268 in 2010. The most points were lost in the critical reading portion of the test, in which high school students scored an average of 408, a 11-point drop from last year’s score of 419; math scores took a nine-point dip from 450 to 441; and writing scores lost seven points, from 405 to 398.
The maximum score for all four categories is 800 and a perfect score is 2,400.
Robeson County Early College students scored the highest with an average of 1,399, but lost 16 points from last year’s scores and seven points from 2010’s score of 1,406. The early college has led SAT scores for the past three years.
Students at St. Pauls High School scored second highest, with a score of 1,275 — 23 points lower than 2011’s score and 40 points lower than 2010’s score of 1,315. Lumberton High school students scored an average of 1,260, a 54-point drop from an average score of 1,314 in 2011 and 49 points less than 2010’s score of 1,309. Students at Fairmont High School scored an average of 1,256 points, a 12-point increase over 2011 score of 1,244, but an 80-point drop from 2010’s scores. Purnell Swett High School students scored an average of 1,239 points, down 29 points from 2011’s scores but up one point from scores in 2010.
Scores for students at South Robeson High School rose 18 points from 2011 and 32 points from scores in 2010; this year’s score of 1,148 remains the lowest of all Robeson County students for the third straight year and 34 points away from the second lowest-scoring school, Red Springs High School.
Red Springs students scored four points lower this year than in 2011 with 1,182 points and 73 points less than in 2010 when the school’s average score was 1,255.
The Robesonian was unable to get a comment this morning from the Public Schools of Robeson County.
The average score for the state was 1,469, down from 1,471 last year. Across the state, the averages were 491 for critical reading, 506 for math and 472 for writing.
Sixty-five percent of public high school students — a total of 55,720 — took the SAT, the highest participation rate in North Carolina history, state officials said. In Robeson County, nearly 41 percent of students took the test, a slight increase from 2011 and 2010. Only 27 percent of students at Fairmont High School took the test; the highest percentage of student participation was at Lumberton High School, were nearly half of all students took the test.
The number of students across the state taking Advanced Placement exams increased 7.8 percent and the number of scores high enough to get college credit increased 7.2 percent.
“The strong SAT and Advanced Placement participation rates in North Carolina are encouraging because they demonstrate that students are planning to further their college education,” Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said. “I am especially pleased to see AP participation rates and performance improving.”
Last year, North Carolina’s average score on the writing, math and critical reading portions of the SAT was 1475, a 10-point drop from the combined score reported in 2010. The 10-year trend shows critical reading scores are two points lower than in 2002 and math scores are one point higher.
Nationally, average scores on the test’s critical reading section fell one point to 496 and scores in the writing section fell one point to 488. Math scores remained steady at 514.
A total of 53,836 North Carolina students took AP exams, and most students took more than one AP course and exam.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.