Landrum High exceeds state, national SAT averages

Published 5:30 pm Thursday, August 27, 2009

Students in Spartanburg County Schools District One who took the SAT last year scored on average well above the state and national averages.

The district had a composite score of 1,504 on the college entrance exam, while the state and national averages were 1,445 and 1,493, respectively.

The composite was even higher at Landrum High School, which had an average of 1,554, the highest among Spartanburg County&squo;s nine high schools.

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Landrum&squo;s average was down from 2008 when it was 1,626, but more students took the test this year. In 2008, only 21 students, or about 22 percent, took the test, compared to 31, or about 29 percent, this year.

Still, Landrum High continues to have fewer students take the test than most of the other schools in the district. District administrators note that many students at Landrum High choose to take the ACT rather than the SAT. By comparison, at Spartanburg High 56 percent of students took the SAT test and they had a composite of 1,477.

Although Landrum&squo;s composite was down substantially from last year, it was well above the&bsp; school&39;s average score of 1,485 in 2007. Landrum students have shown significant improvement on the writing part of the test since 2007 when the school&squo;s average was 464 on writing.

This year Landrum&squo;s mean scores were&bsp; very similar on each section of the three-part test. Landrum students had a mean score of 519 on the verbal portion, 515 on math and 519 on writing.

The mean scores for the Spartanburg County Schools as a whole were 499 on verbal, 513 on math and 493 on writing.

Statewide, the mean scores were 482 on verbal, 496 on math and 467 on writing. The national average was 496 on verbal, 510 on math and 487 on writing.

District One was one of 15 districts in the state to exceed the national average, while Landrum was one of 42 high schools in the state to surpass the national average.

This was the fourth year of the redesigned SAT, which now includes a writing section, tougher math problems and more reading analysis. The test takes about 45 minutes longer.

South Carolina officials say they have seen improvement in ACT and AP test scores in recent years, but SAT scores have not risen as much. The state is encouraging more students to take the preliminary SAT (PSAT), which provides useful feedback to students and educators in preparation for the SAT. They also recommend that college-bound students take the College Board&squo;s recommended courses before taking the SAT. They note the 131-point difference between 2009 South Carolina public high school seniors who took the courses and those who did not.

&dquo;Students do better on college entrance exams if they take the courses to prepare them,&dquo; said State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex. &dquo;Guidance counselors should be reinforcing that message, and parents should be reinforcing it, too.&dquo;