HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii students may be looking to sharpen their academic skills. SAT scores didn't fall by much but they did reach the lowest point in 16 years in math and the worst ever for reading.
Hawaii students averaged a 500 score in math and 479 in reading. Both below the national average of 514 in math and 489 in reading.
Some educators believe it's because a lot of students don't master subjects they only scratch the surface before they have to move on to the next topic.
"If you don't know times tables and division and you're still struggling with adding or subtracting, try to do a fraction or a decimal it's really going to be hard because you need all these concepts to perform higher function math," said Amy Uemoto, Kumon Learning Center Instructor.
About 8,700 Hawaii students took the SAT last year. That included more public school kids than the year before which shows more kids are thinking about college but it also lowers the average scores.
Another theory for the low scores is that some kids are just plain lazy.
"I don't know I was just lazy," said Cleo Valeriano, when asked why she dropped out of school.
"They don't have a sense of direction when they reach high school of where they want to go after and they don't take the SAT seriously or they don't take it at all," said Marissa Lee, Mililani High School Senior.
Marissa Lee does take it seriously. She's taken the SAT once already and did well. Still she plans to take the test again to improve her score.
"I'm hoping to get into a good college and fulfill my dream of becoming a pediatrician," said Lee.
We found others like her with plenty of motivation.
"Now I'm doing really high work," said Mathew Feria, a 7th grader at Mililani Middle School.
Feria admits he used to be a day dreamer, but the middle school student is already doing college level work after school with Kumon Learning Center.
"I want to go to college and try and get myself a degree so I can get myself a really good job to help support my family and all my friends if they need it," said Feria.
Nationally 2011 was also the most diverse class to ever take the SAT with 36 percent being the first in their family to attend college and 27 percent were English as second language students.