College Board: Average SAT scores fall again

Just 42% of test-takers hit college-preparedness benchmark

The average SAT scores in each section fell to their lowest level in nearly a decade, according to a College Board report released last week.

Since 2006, the mean scores have been on a decline. This year, they were:

  • 495 in reading, down two points since last year;
  • 511 in math, down two points since last year; and
  • 484 in writing, down three points since last year.

More seniors than ever took the exam last year: 1.7 million, up from 2014's 1.67 million.

Additionally, of the students who took the exam, only 42% met the combined math, reading, and writing score of 1550 that serves as a benchmark to determine readiness for college-level work. And that level varied by racial backgrounds:

  • 61% of Asian test-takers achieved it;
  • 53% of Caucasians;
  • 33% of Native Americans;
  • 23% of Hispanics; and
  • 16% of African-Americans.

"We know we can, and need, to do better," Cyndie Schmeiser, College Board's chief of assessment, told the Associated Press. "Simply doing the same things we have been doing is not going to improve these numbers."

Next year, the SAT will premiere a significantly revamped test that aims to be more representative of college and workplace skills. The guessing penalty is to be discarded, as is the focus on obscure vocabulary words, according to the Associated Press.

In partnership with Khan Academy, College Board will also provide no-cost SAT practice in the form of diagnostic quizzes and interactive mock tests (Kerr, AP/Washington Post, 9/3).

Thoughts on the story? Tweet us at @eab_daily and let us know.

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