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State’s SAT scores rise slightly over last year

Still well above national averages

Associated Press / August 26, 2009

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BOSTON - Average SAT scores in Massachusetts climbed slightly from last year and remained well above the national averages.

According to figures released yesterday by the College Board, the more than 60,000 Massachusetts students in the class of 2009 who took the college-entrance exam scored an average of 514 on the critical reading portion of the test and 526 on the mathematics portion. Massachusetts students scored an average of 510 on the writing portion. The maximum score on each section is 800.

The national averages were 501 on critical reading, 515 in math, and 493 in writing.

Nationally, SAT scores dipped. Results show the high school class of 2009 earned a combined score of 1,509 on the three sections of the exam, down two points from last year. The average reading and writing scores dropped one point each, while math scores held steady.

Specialists caution against reading too much into the national average SAT score, because the test-taking pool changes over time and can vary widely among states. Still, the average score is now down nine points since 2006, when the writing section was first included and the test moved to a combined 2,400-point scale.

Math scores are higher over the last decade, but reading scores are four points below their 1999 level.

The College Board, which administers the exam, emphasized the growing diversity of SAT-takers. Minorities made up 40 percent of last year’s group, and more than a quarter of the 1.5 million test-takers reported English was not their first language at home.