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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106

2007 SAT Results Prompt Call for Increased Access to PSAT Exam

MALDEN - More black and Hispanic students participated in the SAT and more scored a 3 or higher on AP exams in Massachusetts in 2007 than in any previous year, according to College Board results released Tuesday.

In all, 85 percent of all high school seniors and 82 percent of public high school seniors took the SATs, making Massachusetts third in the country for participation. Nationally 48 percent of all seniors and 42 percent of public high school seniors participated.

According to the results, the state's students scored an average of 513 on the Reading exam, a 522 on the Math exam, and a 511 on the Writing exam. Public school results show that students scored a 505 on the Reading exam, a 516 on the Math Exam and 501 on the Writing exam. Both sets of results overwhelmingly bested the national average of 502 in Reading, 515 in Math and 494 in Writing for all students and 498 in Reading, 509 in Math and 488 in Writing for public school students.

The state's 2007 results represent a slight decline from last year, prompting Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll to call for increased access to Preliminary SAT exams for all students. The so-called PSAT is typically given to 10th and 11th graders and is seen as a practice exam for the SAT.

"I remain convinced that the key to success on the SAT is experience with and success on the PSAT," Driscoll said. "We need to offer more opportunities to take this exam and find ways to reduce its cost. The more we can do to make sure sophomores take the PSAT, the more we will be doing to prepare them for future academic success."

According to College Board results, public school students in the class of 2007 who took the PSAT as juniors or younger scored an average of 547 on the Reading test, 562 on the Math exam and 549 on the Writing exam. Students who never took the PSAT scored an average of 473 on the Reading exam, 481 on the Math exam and 462 on the Writing exam.

In 2007, 51,776 Massachusetts juniors took the PSAT, an increase of 4.3 percent over the previous year, and 31,881 sophomores took the PSAT, a 3.4 percent increase over the prior year.

The results show an achievement gap among students of different ethnicities: Asian students scored a 505 in Reading, a 564 in Math and a 500 in Writing; Black students scored a 419 in Reading, a 419 in Math and a 414 in Writing; Hispanic students scored a 434 in Reading, a 442 in Math and a 427 in Writing; White students scored a 520 in Reading, 530 in Math and a 517 in Writing.

However, participation rates show growth in the numbers of black and Hispanic students taking the SAT exams: Hispanic participation rose 35.9 percentage points statewide and 35.9 percentage points among public school students; Black participation went up 4.4 percentage points statewide and 7.5 percentage points among public school students.

Performance among black and Hispanic students dropped slightly, but not substantially: Black students overall stayed the same in Reading and Writing but dropped three points in Math; in public schools black students stayed the same in Reading but dropped two points each in Math and Writing. Hispanic students statewide dropped five points in Reading, two points in Math and two points in Writing; in public schools Hispanic students dropped two points in Reading, gained two points in Math and stayed the same in Writing.

"This achievement gap to me is more concerning than the state's overall decline," Driscoll said. "We should not be satisfied until we see that all of our students – regardless of race – are making steady progress in all areas, and view college as an essential next step in their lives after high school."

Advanced Placement (AP) results showed an overall 5.9 percentage point increase in the number of students taking the exams, and a 7.4 percentage point increase in the number of students who received a score of a 3 or higher. AP exams are graded on a 1-5 scale, and most schools offer college credit to students who score a 3 or higher.

Among public school students, results showed a 7.1 percentage point increase in test-takers and a 9.1 percentage point increase in the number of tests that received a score of 3 or higher.

PSAT results showed a statewide 3.4 percentage point increase in the number of sophomores who took the exam. Students bested the national average, scoring a 45.6 in Reading, 46.8 in math and 43.6 in Writing. Among public school students, participation went up 4.4 percent, and sophomores also bested the national average, scoring a 44.5 in Reading, a 46.1 in Math and a 42.3 in Writing.

Other public school findings include:

  • The number of Black students in Massachusetts who took at least one AP exam rose to 885, up from 772 in 2006. In all 344 Black students received a 3 or higher on at least one exam. Among Hispanics, 1,211 took at least one AP exam, up from 1,167 in 2006. Of that total 671 received a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam, up from 663 last year.
  • Statewide 44,832 AP exams were taken. Of that total 32,146 (72 percent) received a score of 3 or higher.
  • In a demographic survey, SAT-takers listed the highest level of education their parents had reached. According to the results, 26 percent have a graduate's degree, 30 percent have a bachelor's degree, 10 percent have an associate's degree, 31 percent have a high school diploma and 4 percent never graduated from high school.
  • The top five college majors students indicated plans to pursue were: business management (17 percent), healthcare (16 percent), visual and performing arts (10 percent), education (8 percent) and engineering (7 percent).
  • Twenty-seven percent plan to pursue a Bachelor's degree, 28 percent plan to pursue a Master's degree, 12 percent plan to pursue a Doctoral degree.
  • Massachusetts test-takers asked that their results be sent to a total of 1965 different colleges and universities nationwide. The top five were University of Massachusetts at Amherst (40.3 percent), Northeastern University (21.8 percent), Boston University (16.9 percent), University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth (15.7 percent), and Bridgewater State College (13.8 percent).



Last Updated: August 28, 2007
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