|Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
RICHMOND – Virginia’s 2013 public school graduates achieved significant gains and outperformed their peers nationwide on the SAT college-admissions test, according to results released today by the College Board. Average scores for Virginia public school graduates rose four points in critical reading, one point in mathematics and two points in writing. Among public school students nationwide, achievement was flat in reading, and dropped two points in mathematics and one point in writing.
Speaking about Virginia students’ performance on the SAT college-admissions test, Governor Bob McDonnell commented, “Most Virginia high schools are doing a great job preparing our students for the college entrance exams. While nationwide test scores showed no growth, this year we saw in Virginia impressively high marks on every section of the SAT. This is due to the rigorous standards we hold our students too, and the high-quality classroom instruction by our teachers.”
Graduating seniors in Virginia achieved at significantly higher levels than public school students nationwide on all three SAT subsections:
· The average Virginia public school reading score of 512 is 21 points higher.
· The average Virginia public school mathematics score of 511 is eight points higher.
· The average Virginia public school writing score of 494 is 14 points higher.
2013 SAT Virginia Public School Mean Scores
All Public School Students
“Virginia teachers at all grade levels should take pride in the improving performance of our graduating seniors on the SAT,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said. “The long-term trend on the SAT is up as students are challenged by more rigorous standards as they advance through elementary and middle grades to high school, and ultimately graduate better prepared for their first year of college or the work force.”
“The message in the 2013 SAT results is clear: Virginia students continue to make progress under the Standards of Learning program and the college- and career-ready expectations introduced during the past five years,” Board of Education President David M. Foster said. “I am particularly gratified by the progress in narrowing achievement gaps, as Virginia’s public school students outperformed their counterparts nationally in every demographic subgroup.”
Twenty-nine percent of the Virginia public school SAT takers were members of student subgroups — black, Hispanic and American Indian — historically underrepresented in higher education. Hispanic participation increased by seven percent compared with 2012.
Black 2013 Virginia public school graduates narrowed the achievement gap in all three SAT subject areas by achieving larger gains than public school students overall. The average black score in critical reading increased seven points to 439. The average black score in mathematics increased four points to 431. The average black score in writing increased five points to 422.
Hispanic Virginia public school graduates achieved an average of 491 in critical reading, a five-point increase compared with 2012. Their average score of 490 in mathematics represented a one-point improvement, and their 474 average in writing marked no change from 2012.
A total of 53,072 public school seniors in the state took the SAT — a slight decrease in participation over the previous year’s 53,806 public school participants. In all, 67 percent of the state’s public school graduates and 71 percent of graduating seniors overall took the SAT in 2013.
Forty-five percent of Virginia’s 2013 public school SAT takers and 46 percent of all SAT takers in the commonwealth achieved the College Board’s College- and Career-Readiness Benchmark. The benchmark score of 1550 (critical reading, mathematics and writing sections combined) indicates a 65-percent likelihood of achieving a B-minus grade-point average or higher during the first year of college. Nationwide, 43 percent of SAT takers met the readiness standard.
Average achievement of all Virginia high school seniors — including private and home-schooled students — increased six points in reading, two points in mathematics and three points in writing. Virginia’s all-student average of 516 in reading is 20 points higher than the national all-student average of 496. The commonwealth’s all-student average of 514 in mathematics is equal to the national all-student average. Virginia’s all-student average writing score of 498 is ten points higher than the national average.
2013 SAT Virginia All-Student Mean Scores
While the number of Virginia students taking the rival ACT is increasing, the SAT remains the dominant college-entrance examination in Virginia.
The College Board also reported that the number of Virginia public school students who took at least one Advanced Placement (AP) examination during their high school career increased by 1.1 percent this year, and the number of tests taken increased by 2.6 percent.
The number of AP examinations taken by 2013 public school graduates that qualified for college credit increased by 2.8 percent. Of the 136,662 AP tests taken by Virginia public school students, 82,420, or 60.3 percent, earned a grade of 3 or higher.
The College Board’s February 2013 Advanced Placement Report to the Nation ranked Virginia fifth in the nation in achievement on AP examinations. The College Board will use the AP data released today to update its state rankings early next year.