News Release
For Immediate Release: September 27, 2016
Contact: Charles Pyle, Director of Communications, 8043712420
Virginia Students Outperform Nation on SAT
Performance in Reading Improves, Mathematics Steady
Virginia public school graduates in 2016 continued to buck a multiyear, nationwide trend of sharply lower achievement on the SAT collegeadmissions test.
The College Board, which publishes the SAT, reported today that the average scores for public school graduates in the commonwealth rose by one point in reading, held steady in mathematics, and fell one point in writing. Nationwide, achievement declined in all three subjects on the SAT.
Sixtyfive percent of Virginia’s 2016 public school graduates took the SAT, which is, by far, the predominant admissions test in Virginia, and therefore is a key indicator of the effectiveness of schools in preparing students for the first year of college.
“With the redesign of the SAT this year, the performance of Virginia’s 2016 graduating seniors caps a decadelong trend of increased achievement,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said. “The challenge now as the commonwealth revises its diploma standards is to maintain strong academic performance while expanding the high school experience to include the 21stcentury skills demanded by today’s employers.”
The commonwealth’s public school graduates outscored their nationwide peers on all three subsections of the collegeadmissions test:
 Virginia’s public school mean score in reading of 516 was 29 points higher.
 Virginia’s public school mean score in mathematics of 513 was 19 points higher.
 Virginia’s public school mean score in writing of 493 was 21 points higher.
Chart comparing mean SAT reading scores of Virginia public school students with those of public school students nationwide.
In 2016, the mean reading score for Virginia public school students was 516 and the mean reading score for public school students nationwide was 489.
In 2015, the mean reading score for Virginia public school students was 515 and the mean reading score for public school students nationwide was 489.
In 2014, the mean reading score for Virginia public school students was 515 and the mean reading score for public school students nationwide was 492.
In 2013, the mean reading score for Virginia public school students was 512 and the mean reading score for public school students nationwide was 492.
In 2012, the mean reading score for Virginia public school students was 508 and the mean reading score for public school students nationwide was 491.
Chart comparing mean SAT mathematics scores of Virginia public school students with those of public school students nationwide.
In 2016, the mean mathematics score for Virginia public school students was 513 and the mean mathematics score for public school students nationwide was 494.
In 2015, the mean mathematics score for Virginia public school students was 513 and the mean mathematics score for public school students nationwide was 498.
In 2014, the mean mathematics score for Virginia public school students was 512 and the mean mathematics score for public school students nationwide was 501.
In 2013, the mean mathematics score for Virginia public school students was 511 and the mean mathematics score for public school students nationwide was 503.
In 2012, the mean mathematics score for Virginia public school students was 510 and the mean mathematics score for public school students nationwide was 505.
Of the 2016 Virginia public school graduates who took the SAT, 45.2 percent achieved the College Board’s benchmark for college readiness. The benchmark score of 1550 (critical reading, mathematics and writing sections combined) indicates a 65percent likelihood of achieving a Bgradepoint average or higher during the first year of college. Nationwide, 37.3 percent of SAT takers met the readiness standard.
“While the overall performance of Virginia students compares favorably with that of their nationwide peers, the wide achievement gaps visible when we dig deeper into the data remind us that outcomes are not improving for far too many students of color,” Board of Education President Billy K. Cannaday Jr. said. “Narrowing and ultimately closing these gaps is the state board’s top priority.”
Chart comparing mean SAT writing scores of Virginia public school students with those of public school students nationwide.
In 2016, the mean writing score for Virginia public school students was 49493 and the mean writing score for public school students nationwide was 472.
In 2015, the mean writing score for Virginia public school students was 495 and the mean writing score for public school students nationwide was 475.
In 2014, the mean writing score for Virginia public school students was 493 and the mean writing score for public school students nationwide was 478.
In 2013, the mean writing score for Virginia public school students was 494 and the mean writing score for public school students nationwide was 480.
In 2012, the mean writing score for Virginia public school students was 492 and the mean writing score for public school students nationwide was 481.
Chart showing the percent of Virginia public school students meeting collegereadiness benchmarks in 2016
64.5 percent of Asian Virginia public school graduates met the SAT collegereadiness benchmark
14.6 percent of black Virginia public school graduates met the SAT collegereadiness benchmark
34.2 percent of Hispanic Virginia public school graduates met the SAT collegereadiness benchmark
55.6 percent of white Virginia public school graduates met the SAT college readiness benchmark
45.2 percent of Virginia public school graduates met the SAT college readiness benchmark
The achievement gaps between student subgroups are also reflected in their mean scores.
2016 SAT Virginia Public School Mean Scores 


Group 
Critical Reading 
Mathematics 
Writing 

Virginia 
Nation 
Virginia 
Nation 
Virginia 
Nation 

All Public School Students 
516 
487 
513 
494 
493 
472 
Asian 
555 
530 
590 
575 
545 
526 
Black 
439 
423 
431 
419 
418 
408 
Hispanic 
494 
441 
489 
446 
470 
429 
White 
542 
524 
537 
528 
516 
505 
The “2016 SAT Virginia AllStudent Mean Scores” table includes the performance of private, parochial and homeschooled students.
2016 SAT Virginia AllStudent Mean Scores 


Group 
Critical Reading 
Mathematics 
Writing 

Virginia 
Nation 
Virginia 
Nation 
Virginia 
Nation 

All Students 
520 
494 
517 
508 
498 
482 
Asian 
551 
529 
594 
602 
544 
534 
Black 
442 
430 
433 
425 
420 
415 
Hispanic 
498 
448 
492 
453 
475 
436 
White 
545 
528 
538 
533 
520 
511 
The College Board also reported today that 2016 Virginia public school graduates took 140,170 Advanced Placement (AP) examinations. Of those tests, 62.6 percent earned a grade of 3 or higher, the generally accepted benchmark for college credit.
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