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Less than half of high school graduates are prepared for college, says maker of SAT

Posted by Leslie Anderson  September 26, 2013 01:03 PM

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Only 43 percent of SAT takers in the class of 2013 graduated from high school academically prepared for the rigors of college-level course work, the College Board said in releasing scores Thursday.

Scores on the SAT college entrance exam were largely stagnant for a third year, although African-American students made slight gains, the College Board said. Average scores in reading, math, and writing were the same in 2012 and 2013.

"While some might see stagnant scores as no news, we at the College Board consider it a call to action," said College Board President David Coleman. "We must dramatically increase the number of students in K–12 who are prepared for college and careers."

The College Board also said it is increasing outreach to about 300,000 college-ready students with the goal of expanding their access to available opportunities. In one such program, about 27,000 high-achieving, low-income students are targeted to receive information to help them more effectively explore college options.

"Only by transforming the daily work that students do can we achieve excellence and equity. The College Board will do everything it can to make sure students have access to opportunity, including rigorous course work."

Overall, students scored an average of 496 in reading, down one point from 2011. Average math scores have remained stuck at 514 over the last three years. And the average writing score, 488, was down one point from 2011.

The top score possible on each section is 800, and the highest possible score is 2400. A perfect score was achieved in 2013 by 494 people — less than a third of 1 percent of all test takers, according to the College Board, a nonprofit membership organization of schools and colleges that owns the exam.

Men, on average, scored better in reading and math, while women on average did better in writing.

African-American students on average scored 431 in reading, 429 in math and 418 in writing. That’s slightly higher than in the previous two years.

The average for all Hispanic students was 450 in reading, 461 in math, and 443 in in writing. On average, they did slightly better in reading and writing this year than last, but math scores declined by one point.

For American Indian and Alaskan natives, scores have mostly decreased slightly since 2011. The average score in 2013 was 480 in reading, 486 in math and 461 in writing.
Asian students on average scored 521 in reading, 597 in math and 527 in writing.

The scores in 2013 for this minority group were slightly better in reading and math than the two years before, although in writing the score was one point less than the previous two years.

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About College Bound

College Bound offers news and advice on preparing, applying, and ultimately heading off to college. Send your ideas and questions to Leslie.Anderson@globe.com. More »
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