Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools' SAT scores hit record high

A local school district achieved the highest average SAT scores in its history and in the state. But officials said there is still room for improvement.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools had an average score last year of 1194 for the math section and reading section combined.

“CHCCS typically has the highest SAT score in the state, and ours is a community that deeply values higher education,” said district spokeswoman Stephanie Knott in an e-mail.

BY THE NUMBERS: Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools SAT scores

East Chapel Hill High School

Average reading and math composite score: 1218

Average reading, math and writing composite score: 1809

Carrboro High School

Average reading and math composite score: 1183

Average reading, math and writing composite score: 1767

Chapel Hill High School

Average reading and math composite score: 1165

Average reading, math and writing composite score: 1735

District racial breakdown

Average black score 2008-2009: 951

Average black score 2009-2010: 943

Average Asian score 2008-2009: 1278

Average Asian score 2009-2010: 1245

Average Latino score 2008-2009: 1051

Average Latino score 2009-2010: 1085

Average white score 2008-2009: 1217

Average white score 2009-2010: 1229

Knott said district high schools offer SAT courses, but most of the preparation for the test occurs in the classes that encourage critical thinking and problem solving skills.

But not every demographic within the district saw improvement. The changes in scores varied between racial groups.

The average score for black students decreased 0.84 percent, and Asian students’ average score went down about 2.6 percent.

Latinos and whites had increased average scores of about 3.2 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

East Chapel Hill High School was the highest ranking non-charter public school in the state, with an average test score of 1218 in math and reading.

Assistant Principal Kylon Middleton said this year, he hopes to see more students engaged in their studies as well as helping students who are challenged based on economic status or race.

Carrboro High School was the second in the state, but school principal Kelly Batten said teachers still have their work cut out for them.

“We acknowledge the accomplishments of our students participating on the SAT,” Batten stated in an e-mail.

“However, we also openly acknowledge that much work remains for us as a professional faculty to increase achievement outcomes for struggling students, which in our school are disproportionately represented by minority students.”

Batten said both students and parents have come to develop high expectations and want to see each other succeed.

“Our parents are extremely supportive of our school and student body,” Batten said. He said the PTSA sponsored an SAT workshop last year, which included a drawing for free test prep books for some students.

Batten said improvements in the district can also be attributed to students taking advantage of Advanced Placement courses.

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