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SAT Participation Rates Reflect Greater Diversity Among Test-takers

Connecticut Scores Remain Steady.

Rockville High School. Photo Credit: Chris Dehnel
Rockville High School. Photo Credit: Chris Dehnel

The College Board on Thursday released Connecticut’s SAT data for the class of 2013 and it showed that overall participation rates for public school students continue on an upward trend while also reflecting an increasing diversity among test-takers.  

On the whole, students posted similar average scores from last year, with slight upticks in reading and writing, the College Board said.

"We're pleased that more Connecticut public school students took the SAT this year than last year. Higher participation rates on college entrance exams mean that more Connecticut public high school graduates are aiming for college, which is one of our state's key goals.  It is especially encouraging that participation rates among students of color continue to rise in Connecticut," State Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said.  "We need to ensure that more and more students—young people from every part of our state, of every income level, of every background—recognize the increasingly important role of college to their futures.  And we need to help our students prepare so they are not only successful in the college application process but are also successful in college itself.  We must enable our students not only to compete for admission but also to complete with confidence, advancing into their careers with the skills that the information age and the knowledge economy require."

Statewide, the number of public school students taking the SAT in 2013 increased by 0.8 percent from 2012.  At 83 percent, Connecticut’s participation rate for public school students taking this college entrance exam ranks fourth highest in the nation.

The data also show an increase in diversity among Connecticut test-takers in 2013.  By comparing the SAT participation data with the demographics on the State Department of Education’s high school graduate collection, it is estimated that the SAT participation rate for black high school graduates increased approximately six percentage points from 2011 to 2013, and that of Hispanic graduates increased approximately four percentage points during the same two-year period.

Overall, the average SAT scores for Connecticut public school students remained steady.  Slight improvements were made in both the critical reading content area, which increased by one point to 499, and the writing content area, which increased by two points to 504. The average score in the mathematics content area dropped one point to 503.

Intended to serve as an indicator for likelihood of college success, the College Board developed the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark which is set at a total score of 1550.  According to the College Board, this benchmark score of 1550 is associated with a 65 percent probability of obtaining a first-year GPA of at least a B-.  In Connecticut, 45 percent of SAT test-takers met this benchmark, an increase of one percentage point from 2012.

The College Board’s analysis also indicates that a more rigorous core curriculum is necessary to ensure that students are adequately prepared for success in college.  A core curriculum 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.  According to the College Board, of the 75 percent of test-takers nationwide who completed a core curriculum, only 49 percent met the SAT Benchmark score of 1550.

In Connecticut, public school students who completed a core curriculum posted a mean score in the critical reading content area of 518 compared to a mean score of 460 for those who did not complete a core curriculum. The corresponding mean scores in mathematics were 524 and 457 respectively, and those in the writing content area were 524 and 463 respectively.

The transition to more rigorous, college- and career-ready set of standards is currently underway in classrooms across Connecticut.  In 2010, the State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards, a set of clearer and more rigorous expectations for what students should learn in a given grade.  Districts are at various stages of implementation of curriculum, but all are preparing for the statewide administration of the next-generation assessments aligned to these new standards in the 2014-15 school year.

The corresponding chart reflects Rockville High School's performance against other schools in the state. 

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