South Carolina Students Outperform Nation on SAT and Advanced Placement Examinations

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Friday, October 26th, 2018

The College Board released national and South Carolina specific results for their SAT and Advanced Placement assessments. South Carolina students scored fifteen points above the national average on the SAT exam and exceeded the nation on eight out of the top ten tested subjects of Advanced Placement exams.

“These results illustrate the importance of an education system that is based off multiple measures, said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “While there is still work to be done in other areas, the data from these two rigorous national assessments prove that South Carolina students can surpass their peers nationally and that our schools are moving in the right direction.” 


A total of 22,141 South Carolina students or 50% of the class of 2018 took the SAT assessment, a 5.7% increase from last year’s class.

The SAT relies on two main components, Evidence Based Reading and Writing (ERW) and Math. The Essay section is optional. Scores range from 400 to 1600 overall with 200 to 800 coming from ERW and 200 – 800 coming from Math.

South Carolina’s overall mean score was 1064, fifteen points above the national mean of 1049. SC’s mean ERW score was 543, fourteen points above the national mean of 529. The state and national math mean were the same, 520. 44% of SC test takers met both ERW and Math College and Career Ready Benchmarks.

African American student participation accounted for 26% of all test takers which more than doubling the national participation rate of 13%. 

Advanced Placement

South Carolina saw growth in all three major areas of AP participation and performance. 

- The number of students taking exams increased 5.7% to 32,641. 

- The number of exams increased 6.6% to 52,115 exams. 

- The number of AP exams with scores of three or higher increased 10.1% to 30,427 exams. 

AP exam scores of three indicate a candidate who is qualified to take college-level courses. Scores of four indicate someone who is well-qualified and a five indicates someone who is extremely well-qualified. Colleges and universities often grant class credit and use AP scores of three or more to place students in higher course levels.

South Carolina students outperformed the national average in percentage of exams with scores of three or more on eight of the top ten most popular Advanced Placement tested subjects. 

7,795 South Carolina students were named AP Scholars, meaning they scored three or higher on three or more AP exams. This is an 8.6% increase from 2017.