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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106

2005 SAT Results Show Massachusetts Students Outpacing The Nation

MALDEN - For the 14th year in a row, the state’s seniors bested the previous year’s class on the SATs, once more outscoring their peers both regionally and nationwide.

According to 2005 results released Tuesday by the College Board, the state’s class of 2005 scored an average of 520 on the verbal exam and 527 on the Math exam, with 86 percent of both public and private school students participating. These results are from tests taken during the 2004-2005 school year, but do not include the March 2005 SAT administration, which was the first time the national assessment test included a writing component. Those results will be included in the 2006 report.

Nationally, just New York, Connecticut and New Jersey had equal or higher participation rates, but Massachusetts’ results outpaced the performance of students in all three states. Nationwide 49 percent of students participated, and scored an average of 508 on the verbal exam and 520 on the Math.

“These scores are a direct result of how hard our students work to prepare for their futures, and prove once more why Massachusetts is nationally recognized for its leadership on education reform," said Governor Mitt Romney. “Now we need to bolster our efforts to help turn around the state’s underperforming schools in order to ensure all of our students have the opportunity to be successful.”

Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll agreed.

“Year after year our students show us that when properly motivated and engaged in their learning, they can - and will - succeed,” he said. “Indeed, I credit some of their success to the state’s graduation requirement, but great credit also needs to be given to the hard work and commitment of our teachers, administrators, parents and students.”

The state’s 2005 average represents an increase from last year, when students scored an average of 518 on the verbal exam and 523 on the math. In all this year’s results show a 1 percentage point increase in participation over 2004, and a 10 percentage point increase from 1994, when just 76 percent of students took the exam.

Public school students also outpaced their peers regionally and nationwide, scoring an average of 513 on the verbal and 522 on the math exam, with 77 percent of students participating. Just New York, Connecticut and New Jersey had equal or higher public school participation rates, but Massachusetts’ seniors outscored students in all three states. Nationwide 41 percent of public schoolers participated, scoring an average of 505 on the Verbal and 515 on the Math exam.

Among ethnic groups, a clear performance gap still exists, but 2005 results show notable progress from 2004. Black students averaged 431 on the Verbal, up three points from last year, and 433 on the math, up 9 points from last year. Hispanic students dropped 2 points to 441 on the Verbal, but gained 4 points to 449 on the Math exam. Asian students rose 4 points to 499 on the Verbal and rose 6 points to 573 on the Math.

“I’m pleased to see these numbers begin to rise, but the reality of our achievement gap is sobering,” Driscoll said. “ We cannot rest as educators until this gap is not just narrowed, but erased entirely. I will not be satisfied until I see that all of our students - regardless of race - are getting the top quality education they deserve. We are making progress, but unfortunately, in this area, we are still far from our goal.”

PSAT results showed a significant increase in the number of sophomores taking the exam: 28,023 10th graders took the PSAT in 2005, a 24 percent increase over 2004 participation. Students bested the national average, scoring an average of 45.1 in Reading, 46.8 in Math and 48.4 in writing.

“Students who take the PSAT are more likely to do well on the SAT, so I am pleased to see this increase in participation,” Driscoll said.

Other findings released in this year’s report include:

  • 30,704 Massachusetts students took Advanced Placement tests this year, a 6 percent increase from 2004. Of the 52,108 exams taken, 37,505 received a score of 3 or higher.
  • The three most widely taken AP exams were U.S. History (16 percent), English Literature and Composition (14 percent), and Calculus AB (10 percent).
  • Massachusetts’ males and females both outscored their peers nationwide on the SAT. Girls averaged 515 on the Verbal exam, up 2 points from last year, and 10 points above the national female average of 505. On the Math exam girls averaged 511, up 5 points from last year and 7 points above the national female average of 504. Boys averaged 525 on the Verbal exam, up 2 points from last year, and 12 points above the national male average of 513. On the Math exam boys averaged 545, up 4 points from last year and 7 points over the national male average of 538.
  • Test-takers requested that their results be sent to a total of 2,690 colleges, universities and scholarship programs around the country. Of those, 54.7 percent of students requested their results go to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  • The other four in the top five most requested schools were Northeastern University (21.6 percent), Boston University (17.4 percent), University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth (16.2 percent), and University of Massachusetts at Boston (13.5 percent).

    • Last Updated: August 30, 2005
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