A report issued by the College Board on Monday, September 13 announced that more students in the class of 2010 took the SAT than any other high school graduating class in the exam’s history. Nearly 1.6 million high school students from the class of 2010 sat for the popular college admissions test.
National average SAT scores fluctuated only slightly by test section, but overall results held steady. Test takers averaged 1509 points out of a possible 2400 in three sections, the same as last year. The three sections are critical reading, mathematics and writing.
The average critical reading score in 2010 was 501, exactly the same as it was in 2009. The average score in mathematics increased by one point to 516, and the average writing score dropped one point to 492. Scores in all three sections are down moderately from where they were just a few years ago.
College Board officials actually characterized the flat one-year score change as encouraging because average scores typically drop as more students, and a more diverse range of students, take the test. They have noted that as the minority participation rate grew 78.3% over the last 10 years, math scores have climbed 2 points while critical reading scores have declined 4 points.
“This report confirms that there are no tricks and there are no shortcuts to college readiness,” said Gaston Caperton, president of the non-profit organization. “Students who take more rigorous courses in high school are more prepared to succeed in college and beyond."
The Associated Press reports that officials with the College Board have warned against reading too much into the slight year-to-year movement, instead using the findings to argue for greater academic rigor in U.S. high schools.
The United States, once a world leader the number of college graduates, now ranks 12th among industrialized nations with adults between 25 and 34 with college credentials. Caperton urged schools to offer more rigorous courses, saying “Kids have to work harder.”
The College Board’s report shows that class of 2010 students who reported completing a core curriculum—which is defined as four or more years of English, three or more years of mathematics, three or more years of natural science, and three or more years of social science and history — scored, on average, 151 points higher on the SAT than those who did not complete a core curriculum.
Additionally, the difficulty of a student’s course work also plays a critical role in their college readiness. As in previous years, students in the class of 2010 who reported taking the most demanding honors or Advanced Placement courses performed better on the SAT.
The Chronicle of Higher Education revealed that some SAT critics disagree with the College Board’s new method of counting the number of students who took the test. The College Board said that it included 50,000 test-takers this year who took the exam in May or June of their senior year. In past years, the board stopped counting at the end of March.
Opponents see the move as a way to hide the fact that rival college admissions exam ACT is gaining ground on the SAT in recent years. ACT participation is up 30% since 2006 and it is now accepted by every college in the United States that requires a standardized admission test.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
Have something to say? Feel free to add comments or additional information.