Virginia 2014 public school graduates achieved significant gains and outperformed their peers nationwide on the SAT, according to results released today by the College Board. Average scores for Virginia public school graduates rose three points in critical reading, one point in mathematics and declined by one point in writing.
The commonwealth’s public school graduates outscored their nationwide peers on all three subsections of the college-admissions test:
- Virginia’s public school mean score in reading of 515 was 23 points higher.
- Virginia’s public school mean score in mathematics of 512 was 11 points higher.
- Virginia’s public school mean score in writing of 493 was 15 points higher.
“The long-term trend of higher achievement on the SAT is in line with other indicators of increased college and career readiness among Virginia students, including improved performance on the ACT, rising graduation rates and ever-higher percentages of students earning advanced diplomas,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples. “I believe this trend will continue as more students meet the commonwealth’s more rigorous mathematics, reading and writing standards.”
The average reading score of Virginia public graduates was the second highest among the 25 states (including the District of Columbia) in which 50 percent or more public school graduates took the SAT and the sixth highest in both mathematics and writing. According to the College Board, 69 percent of Virginia public school graduates took the SAT in 2014.
Forty-five percent of Virginia’s 2014 public school SAT takers achieved the College Board’s benchmark for college readiness. 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, 42.6 percent of SAT takers met the readiness standard.
Only 15 percent of black and 35 percent of Hispanic Virginia public school seniors achieved the college-readiness benchmark, compared with 61 percent of Asian and 55 percent of white graduates.
The gaps in achievement between student subgroups also are reflected in their mean scores, although black and Hispanic Virginia graduates outscored their peers nationwide on the SAT in 2014.
|2014 SAT Virginia Public School Mean Scores|
|All Public School Students||515||492||512||501||493||478|
|2014 SAT Virginia All-Student Mean Scores|
“We won’t begin to see these achievement gaps narrow on the SAT until we have made substantial progress closing them at the elementary and middle school levels,” Staples said. “This will require a sustained commitment to providing chronically under-performing schools and divisions with the interventions and resources required to raise student achievement far above present levels.”
The College Board also reported that 2014 Virginia public school graduates took 138,272 Advanced Placement (AP) examinations, an increase of 1.2 percent. Of those tests, 61.2 percent earned a grade of 3 or higher, the generally accepted benchmark for college credit.
According to today’s report, Virginia — at 19.2 percent — had the fourth-highest percentage of juniors and seniors earning a qualifying score on at least one AP test in 2014.
The College Board’s February 2014 Advanced Placement Report to the Nation ranked Virginia third in the nation in achievement on AP examinations, based on the percentage of 2013 graduates who earned a score of 3 or higher on at least one examination. The College Board will use the AP data released today to update its annual state rankings early next year.