The Elkin City Schools ranked 10th out of 115 North Carolina public school districts on the 2015 SAT college admission test.
Test results released last week showed the scores of Elkin High School students who took the SAT were higher than state and national averages. “We’re real proud of that,” said Principal Joel Hoyle.
According to The College Board, North Carolina’s graduating seniors who took the test averaged a score of 1478, dropping five points from the 1483 scored by the 2014 graduates who took it. Statewide, the total number of students taking the SAT this year increased to 58,022, which accounts for 59 percent of all eligible students.
The Elkin High School seniors who took the test scored 1536, 58 points above the state average. A total of 35 Elkin seniors took the test, which accounts for 44.3 percent of the 2015 graduating class.
Elkin students averaged 514 on the critical reading portion of the test, which was 16 points higher than the statewide average and 19 points above the national average. On the math portion of this year’s test, Elkin City Schools students averaged 529, which was 25 points higher than the state average and 18 points above the national average.
Elkin High School students scored 493 on the writing test, which was 17 points higher than the state average and nine points higher than the national average. The writing portion of the test was only added a few years ago.
Students are allowed to take the SAT as many times as they want, Hoyle said. For those who take it more than once, the highest scores in each of the three sections of the test are used by college officials in determining whether they are admitted.
However, Hoyle said the trend in recent years is that more students are opting to take the ACT, rather than the SAT, test for college admission.
Hoyle said colleges do not have a preference as to which test scores are used, so more and more students are opting to use their ACT score since the N.C. Department of Public Instruction started in 2012 requiring all students to take it in March of their junior years. Because it is required, there is no cost for students.
Some students use the required ACT score on their college applications, while others opt to pay to take it again in an attempt to increase their scores because they’re more familiar with it than the SAT.
Students who take the SAT may take it during their junior year and again in the fall of their senior year when filling out college applications. Typically, the test is offered on Saturday mornings at different locations, and students register for it online.
Hoyle said he is proud of the job the school’s faculty is doing preparing students for the SAT and ACT. While Elkin High School does not offer any type of SAT prep course, he said teachers include material covered on the test in their daily instruction time.
“We also stress test-taking skills for the SAT and try to incorporate things into everyday class instruction in all classes,” he said, “to prepare our students for the tests.” Hoyle said some teachers also use the “SAT Question of the Day” and the “ACT Question of the Day” listed on the test websites in their classrooms.
Elkin High School also offers workshops featuring test-taking tips, Hoyle said, and teachers cover this type of information in their lessons. There are also online classes to prepare students for the tests, he said.
The biggest improvements in Elkin City Schools scores in the three-year period between 2013 and 2015 were in mathematics, reading and writing, with math and reading showing a doubt-digit gain.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 336-258-4058.