Berkshire County public school students in the class of 2012 who took the SAT in high school scored 19 points below the state average and 12 above the national average on the overall test, which combines critical reading, math and writing skills.
National data was issued publicly Monday by the SAT-administering College Board, and Massachusetts released statewide data and individual school data for its public high schools.
Students can score a maximum of 800 per subject for a combined score of 2,400 on the three SAT exams. According to The Associated Press, only 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.
In the county's 12 public high schools, students had an average overall score of 1,510, compared with 1,498 nationally and 1,529 in Massachusetts. The breakdown is as follows:
* In critical reading, students scored a mean of 508 points, two higher than the state average and 12 above the national average.
* In math, Berkshire County students scored an average of 507 points, 16 lower than the state average and seven below the national average.
* In writing, local students earned an average score of 495, five points below the state average and seven above the national average.
County-wide, Lenox Memorial Middle and High School members of the class of 2012 who took the SAT exams had the highest
Lenox had the highest averages in critical reading (584) and writing (573), and Greylock was first in math (580).
In line with state results, Berkshire County saw increased participation in the SAT program and an increase in math scores.
The county had 907 students from the class of 2012 take the SAT exams, up 59 from the previous year.
The mean math score of 507 in the county is up three points from last year. The mean score for critical reading stayed the same while the average writing score went up seven points.
For most schools in Berkshire County, public or private, taking the SAT exams is optional but encouraged.
"Most of our kids go on to some form of continuing education after high school, so we always strongly recommend that they take the SATs," said Francis Foley, principal of St. Joseph Central High School in Pittsfield.
"It opens up doors for [students]," said Cathy Grady, the head guidance counselor at Wahconah Regional High in Dalton.
Grady said more competitive colleges still require students to submit SAT scores, though national statistics show that more schools are accepting -- and more students are participating in -- the ACT, another nationally standardized test.
Foley said students should decide which test to take based on their individual plan to apply for colleges. Most community colleges, for example, don't require test scores for admission.
Grady said SAT and ACT scores are just "one part" of the college admissions equation. Other factors include service performed in a student's school and community, grade average, course selections, and extracurricular activities, such as athletics and employment.
To learn more about the SAT test program, visit http://sat.collegeboard.org/home.