Jim Hull, Senior Policy Analyst for the Center for Public Education (CPE) at the National School Boards Association, recently analyzed the latest batch of SAT scores for CPE’s blog, The Edifier:
While the overall flat nature of the scores are nothing to celebrate, a closer look at the latest SAT data shows public schools are doing a better job preparing poor and minority students for college according to the 2013 SAT Report on College Readiness released today.
Although scores for minority students have increased, it is important to point out that huge gaps remain between minority students and their white classmates. The results show that minority students are not completing the rigorous courses they need not only to score higher on the SAT but to prepare them to get into and succeed in college.
Just as the ACT showed last month, these results show schools need to double and even triple their efforts in making sure all students are adequately prepared for college-level work. To do so, high schools need to ensure that all students are taking the courses they need to succeed in college. Unfortunately, as CPE’s latest report Out of Sync found, most states do not require the courses students need to succeed in college as a high school graduation requirement. As more graduates plan on enrolling in college, it is more important than ever that a high school diploma represent a student who is ready for higher education, whether at a two or four-year institution. – Jim Hull
- The nation’s graduating Class of 2013 had an average composite score of 1498, which is unchanged from 2012 (1500) but significantly lower than 2009 (1505).
- At a score of 1498, an average high school graduate has about a 75 percent chance of getting admitted into a competitive four-year college.*
- Scores remained unchanged in all three sections over the past year. Just as in 2012, scores were 496 in Critical Reading, 514 in Math, and 488 in Writing for 2013.
- Scores improved for most racial/ethnic groups.
- The average combined Hispanic student score was 1354 in 2013, which is three points higher than in 2012 and nine points lower than in 2008.
- The average black student score was 1278 in 2013, which is five points higher than in 2012 and two points lower than in 2008.
- The average white student score was 1576 in 2013, which is two points lower than in 2012 and three points lower than in 2008.
- Nearly half (43 percent) of the test-takers met the SAT College-Ready Benchmark in 2013, which is unchanged from the year prior and slightly lower than in 2009 (44 percent).
- The SAT College Ready Benchmarks represent a student who scores a combined 1550 or higher. Students hitting this benchmark have a 65 percent chance of earning a B-minus grade point average in their freshman year courses.
- Minority students are less likely to be college ready.
- Just 15.6 of black students and 23.5 percent of Hispanic students were college ready according to the SAT’s Benchmark.
- However, both black and Hispanic students saw increases in reaching the SAT Benchmark from 2012 to 2013.
Core Course Rigor
- Seventy-five percent of SAT test-takers completed the recommended “core” college-preparatory curriculum, which is an increase from 70 percent in 2001.
- Just 66 percent of black students and 70 percent of Hispanic students completed the core curriculum, compared to 80 percent of white students.
- However, both black and Hispanic students saw a one percentage point increase in core curriculum completion rates since 2012.
- High school graduates who took math or English AP or Honors courses scored significantly higher than students who complete four or more year’s worth in each subject, not only in the relevant subject area, but in all three SAT sections.
- Just over 1.66 million students from the Class of 2013 took the SAT sometime during their high school which was a slight dip from 2012.
- Slightly more minority students are taking the SAT.
- In 2013, 17 percent of SAT test-takers were Hispanic which was the same as in 2012, but greater than the 12 percent in 2008.
- Thirteen percent of SAT test-takers were black in 2013 which was the same as in 2012, but greater than the 11 percent in 2008.
- The percent of test-takers who were white continues to drop from 57 percent in 2008 to 51 percent in 2012 to just 50 percent in 2013.
- A greater number of students whose first language isn’t English are taking the SAT.
- In 2013 13 percent of SAT test-takers’ first language was not English compared to 9 percent in 2008.
- The vast majority (82 percent) of SAT test-takers want to earn at least a Bachelor’s degree, up from 75 percent a decade ago.
For more information on how to use college entrance exam scores to evaluate your school, check out the Center’s Data First Website.