More California students – including minority students – took the SAT last year, new results show, yet scores on the test remained essentially stagnant and show that only about 1 in 4 students is ready for college-level work.

About 60 percent (236,923 students) of the class of 2014 took the SAT, according to results released Tuesday by test administrator The College Board. That’s up from 57 percent who took the test the previous year. About 69 percent of California test takers were minorities, up from 67 percent the previous year.

The average overall score in California was 1504 out of a possible 2400. The score was down one point from 2013 but bested the national average of 1497.

The exam includes a math, English and essay section, each worth 800 points. California scores on the math section slipped slightly this year – an average 510 compared with last year’s 512 – while reading scores held steady at 498 and writing scores increased one point to 496.

Overall, about 42 percent of test takers in California scored well enough on the three-section test to be considered ready for college-level work. Students who earn an overall score of 1550 have a high probability of earning a grade point average of a B-minus or higher in their first year of college, the College Board said.

Underrepresented students fared especially poorly on the college benchmark. Only 22 percent of African-American students and 21 percent of Latino students hit the benchmark score of 1550, while 38 percent of Native American students hit the mark.

The SAT is used in admissions decisions at colleges and universities nationwide.

The latest results are among the last that will be posted under the exam’s current format. The exam is undergoing a remake that test administrators say will better reflect the skills students need to succeed in college. The revamped test will be administered in 2016.

In announcing results Tuesday, the College Board for the first time combined the release of SAT scores with results of its Advanced Placement program and its Preliminary SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which is generally taken in 10th grade.

Participation in AP courses is growing in California, the results show, with 25 percent of the class of 2014 taking AP courses, up from 15 percent a decade ago.

About 38 percent of California’s 10th-graders took the PSAT/NMSQT last year; about 66 percent of them were minorities, the College Board said.

SHARE ARTICLE

Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments Policy

The goal of the comments section on EdSource is to facilitate thoughtful conversation about content published on our website. Click here for EdSource's Comments Policy.

  1. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    As excerpted from a recent article by KQED (SF Bay Area NPR station): For college-bound students, scoring high on the SAT has always been imperative to getting admitted into universities and colleges of stature. Admissions offices traditionally weigh SAT scores as one of the predominant factors in offering acceptance letters to students. And though that’s still the case for many elite universities, more higher ed institutions are taking the SAT and ACT off the criteria list … Read More

    As excerpted from a recent article by KQED (SF Bay Area NPR station):

    For college-bound students, scoring high on the SAT has always been imperative to getting admitted into universities and colleges of stature. Admissions offices traditionally weigh SAT scores as one of the predominant factors in offering acceptance letters to students. And though that’s still the case for many elite universities, more higher ed institutions are taking the SAT and ACT off the criteria list for admission.

    The most recent addition to the list of “test optional” institutions is the prominent Ithaca College, which announced that it would abandon test score requirements for admissions last month.
    Ithaca College, averaging 12,000 yearly applicants, will now base an applicant’s ability on predictors other than SAT or the ACT test scores. The college has been rethinking standardized tests for some time, according to the vice president of Enrollment and Communication Eric Maguire. Not only do these tests fail to give a truly accurate assessment of a student’s ability, but they also bar diverse range of students from applying, he says.

    “Standardized test scores add remarkably little to our ability to predict a student’s success beyond what their high school GPA and course schedule already tell us,” Maguire claims. “We believe our new test optional policy better aligns with our holistic and careful reviews of student applications. We also believe the policy will encourage more students to consider Ithaca College and help further diversify our applicant pool.”

  2. Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

    At the risk of stating the obvious, why should there be a change in the SAT average score? AFAIK, the SAT is supposed to produce an identical average every year, else this year's cohort's aptitude for college cannot be compared to last year's. If that's does not happen, how can colleges decide if this year's crop of applicants is as qualified as last year's, and the one before, etc? The SAT is a zero-sum game: for every … Read More

    At the risk of stating the obvious, why should there be a change in the SAT average score?

    AFAIK, the SAT is supposed to produce an identical average every year, else this year’s cohort’s aptitude for college cannot be compared to last year’s. If that’s does not happen, how can colleges decide if this year’s crop of applicants is as qualified as last year’s, and the one before, etc?

    The SAT is a zero-sum game: for every test taker that is to the left of the average, there has to be another one equally to the right. One cannot expect this to be otherwise, mathematically.

    Demanding that a state’s average score go up is equivalent to demanding that another state’s go down. We can’t have that, can we?