No significant gains in SAT scores

Credit: iStockphoto.comMore California students – including minority students – took the SAT last year, new results show, yet scores on the test remained essentially stagnant and show that only about 1 in 4 students is ready for college-level work.
About 60 percent (236,923 students) of the class of 2014 took the SAT, according to results released Tuesday by test administrator The College Board. That’s up from 57 percent who took the test the previous year. About 69 percent of California test takers were minorities, up from 67 percent the previous year.
The average overall score in California was 1504 out of a possible 2400. The score was down one point from 2013 but bested the national average of 1497.
The exam includes a math, English and essay section, each worth 800 points. California scores on the math section slipped slightly this year – an average 510 compared with last year’s 512 – while reading scores held steady at 498 and writing scores increased one point to 496.
Overall, about 42 percent of test takers in California scored well enough on the three-section test to be considered ready for college-level work. Students who earn an overall score of 1550 have a high probability of earning a grade point average of a B-minus or higher in their first year of college, the College Board said.
Underrepresented students fared especially poorly on the college benchmark. Only 22 percent of African-American students and 21 percent of Latino students hit the benchmark score of 1550, while 38 percent of Native American students hit the mark.
The SAT is used in admissions decisions at colleges and universities nationwide.
The latest results are among the last that will be posted under the exam’s current format. The exam is undergoing a remake that test administrators say will better reflect the skills students need to succeed in college. The revamped test will be administered in 2016.
In announcing results Tuesday, the College Board for the first time combined the release of SAT scores with results of its Advanced Placement program and its Preliminary SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which is generally taken in 10th grade.
Participation in AP courses is growing in California, the results show, with 25 percent of the class of 2014 taking AP courses, up from 15 percent a decade ago.
About 38 percent of California’s 10th-graders took the PSAT/NMSQT last year; about 66 percent of them were minorities, the College Board said.
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