COLUMBIA -- South Carolina students continue to outperform the national average on both the SAT and Advanced Placement exams. Palmetto State students exceeded the nation on eight out of the top 10 subjects of Advanced Placement exams as well as scored above the national average on the newly redesigned SAT college entrance exam.

“Our continued success on these rigorous college and career readiness assessments is the result of the hard work and preparation of our students, parents and educators,” State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said.

“Our goal is for every South Carolina student to graduate prepared for success, and increased participation and achievement on these national assessments is a great indicator that we are making strides to meet that goal,” Spearman said.

South Carolina saw growth in all three major areas of AP participation and performance. The number of students taking exams increased 8.6 percent to 30,943. The number of exams increased 8.8 percent to 49,071 exams. South Carolina students scoring three or higher on AP exams increased 7 percent to 27,735 exams. Students participating in STEM exams have more than doubled over the past 10 years from 7,436 exams in 2007 to 14,391 in 2017.

AP exam scores of three indicate a candidate 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.

The number of minority students participating in AP exams increased 12.4 percent from 2016. Minority students receiving scores of three or more increased 3.5 percent.

A total of 7,176 South Carolina students were named AP Scholars, meaning they scored three or higher on three or more AP exams.

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