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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Contact:Kimberly Beck 781-338-3105

Combination of Scores and Participation Rank State at Top of SAT Chart

Malden - The state's high schoolers once again bested their peers regionally and nationwide on the 2003 SATs, scoring an average of 516 on the verbal exam and 522 on the math test, with 82 percent participating.

Of the three other states with a participation rate of more than 80 percent - New Jersey, Connecticut and New York - Massachusetts students achieved the highest results. Nationally, according to College Board results released Tuesday, just 48 percent of students participated, scoring an average of 507 on the verbal and 519 on the math exam.

On the Advanced Placement exams, 70 percent of Massachusetts students received a score of 3 or higher, a slight decline from last year, but significantly higher than the national average of 60 percent. A five is the highest possible score on these exams.

Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll lauded this year's results, crediting much of the improvement to the increased dedication of both teachers and students.

"This year's numbers are cause for celebration," he said. "Once again I can see that the hard work being done in our classrooms is paying off in more than just MCAS scores."

Public school students scored an average of 509 on the verbal and 518 on the math, parochial school students scored an average of 533 on the verbal and 523 on the math and private school students scored an average of 585 on the verbal and 600 on the math.

The state's average 2003 results represent an unprecedented high from a decade ago, when students scored a 503 in verbal and a 500 in math. This year's numbers also represent a jump from 2002, when the state averaged a 512 in verbal and a 516 in math.

Both males and females hit a 10-year high on both exams and outscored their peers nationwide.

Girls averaged 511 on the verbal exam, up 2 points from last year, 11 points from a decade ago, and 8 points higher than the national average of 503. Boys averaged 522 on the verbal, up 7 points from last year, 17 points from a decade ago, and 10 points higher than the national average of 512.

On the math exam, girls averaged 507, up 7 points from last year, 26 points from a decade ago and 4 points over the national average. Boys averaged 539, up 5 points from last year, 19 points from a decade ago, and 2 points over the national average.

Among ethnic groups, a wide performance gap was still evident in results from both exams.

White students averaged 527 on the verbal and 531 on the math, Asian students averaged 499 on the verbal and 569 on the math, African-American students averaged 434 on the verbal and 433 on the math, Puerto Rican students averaged 428 on the verbal and 421 on the math and Latino students averaged 440 on the verbal and 446 on the math.

Much more needs to be done to close this gap, Driscoll said.

"I will not be fully satisfied until I see evidence that all of our students - black, white, Hispanic and Asian - are getting the quality education they need to do well both in the classroom and on exams like the SATs," he said. "I am proud of the achievements we have made so far, but it is clear that we are far from our goal in this area."

Other findings released in this year's College Board results include:

Students with a high school GPA of an A- or above scored an average of 575 on the verbal and 590 on the math. Students with a GPA of B or above scored an average of 504 on the verbal and 511 on the math.

Students who learned English as their first language scored an average of 524 on the verbal and 525 on the math. Students who learned another language first scored an average of 450 on the verbal and 504 on the math.

In all, 14 percent of test takers plan to pursue a degree in business or commerce, 12 percent will seek a degree in health or allied services and 11 percent will pursue a degree in social sciences and history. An additional 8 percent listed education as their intended college major.

Of the students who designated at least one college to receive their scores, more than one in three selected the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The most popular in-state private institution was Northeastern University, and the most popular out-of-state school was the University of New Hampshire at Durham. The top 9 schools were all in Massachusetts.

Last Updated: August 26, 2003
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